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UPDATED Golden at home, Unity Panthers bound for Western Canadians

Three straight wins by the Unity Panthers captured a provincial title at home and they are now bound for Western Canadians in B.C.

Updated July 12 9:15 a.m.

UNITY — The U19 Unity Panthers captured the U19 BW provincial championships on their home diamond July 10, in the fourth game of a best-of-five series, competing against the Battlefords Bandits.

Mother Nature, after showing some early morning weather nastiness, delivered beautiful days July 9 and 10 for the U19 provincial softball championships held in Unity.

Battlefords took the first game in six innings by a score of 8-1. The Panthers battled back winning game two in come-from-behind fashion, capturing the second victory by a score of 10-6. In game three, while the lead changed hands a couple of times, the Panthers once again came out with the win.

The morning of July 10, you could feel the energy both in the fans at the venue and by the team. A strong first, big-bat inning saw the Panthers score four runs to open up game four. Duties on the mound were handed over to pitcher Makayla Bakken, who presented an excellent effort to stop the Battlefords batters and selecting opportune times to deliver her changeup, thus able to shut down some batters at the plate.

The Bandits did their best to regain the momentum of the opening game win showcasing some excellent plays on both offence and defence. It was a total, all-around effort by the Panthers, as between strong pitching, timely hits and an excellent display of defensive skills, the teamwork exhibited by the U19 softball team was no doubt a key to their winning the provincial title.

Senior player, Devyn McLean, says, “A lot of these girls I have grown up playing ball with and we have had a few new faces this year. That did not stop our great bond and ability to play together. With this being most girls’ last year, it was nice to play, and win it, in front of a hometown crowd.”

McLean adds, “Although the first game did not go as we wanted, the last three games our team came together and played like no other can. Now we are off to Richmond, B.C. for westerns, where I am excited to play with this team one last time.”

Starting pitcher Abby Rutley, often looked to for her leadership, also in her last year with minor ball, says, “We did not start the weekend off the way we liked, but we finished strong, playing an almost flawless game. This is the last year of minor ball for over half of our team, so getting to play and win in front of a home crowd meant a lot to all of us. I am super fortunate to have been a part of this team and of Unity Minor Ball and am super excited to represent our town and province at Western Canadians this year.”

The U19 roster included Wilkie players Jaymie Myszczyszyn and Amy Gruber, and Biggar recruit, Kalin Harrabeck. Players in their last year of minor ball eligibility included pitchers, Abby Rutley, Makayla Bakken, and Aryanna L’Heureux along with third base, Alexis Elder, second base, Paige Schultz, catcher Devyn McLean. Amy Deck, and Addison Rewerts rounded off the lineup.

The Panthers were led by the quintuple coaching team of Garan Rewerts, Pat Risling, Doug Rutley, Kurt Elder and Denelle L’Heureux.

Several parents also commended the coaches for the rapport they built with the team as well as their calm, reassuring leadership that led the team to believe in themselves and their abilities.

Coach, Garan Rewerts, said, “It was a great weekend. North Battleford was a fierce opponent that battled hard. Our parents did a ton of work organizing and working diamonds, sound booth etc..
Seven of these girls will be graduating so this win was extra sweet for them. Three of our girls played their first year in Unity.”

Rewerts adds that parents and coaches are immensely proud of this U19 team and, everyone is very excited about moving on to Westerns in Richmond representing Saskatchewan.

Panther coaches acknowledged how special it was to capture this championship at home in front of family, friends, and hometown fans, so were grateful that Softball Sask. accepted their bid to host and the town for the support for the weekend’s event.

Fans in the venue throughout the weekend said that Unity Panthers of all divisions have an excellent reputation for successful teams and that they enjoyed being part of the provincial win, and will now eagerly await the results of their event in B.C.

A progressive 50/50 was sold throughout July 9, guaranteed at $500 by Vern and Jessica Schultz and was won by Jackson Bertoia, who took home $607.50.

Fans migrated back and forth between games as the Unity Junior Cardinals baseball team was hosting some 22U exhibition games, also hosting a beverage gardens on site.


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