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Avon View’s senior girls’ softball team win regionals, heading to provincials

Avon View High School’s senior girls’ softball team won the regional NSSAF banner May 25. Pictured celebrating are, from left, back row: Marissa Keddy, Maggie Greeno, Emma Smith, Haley Baxter, Morgan Hennigar, Maddie Swinamer, and Nerea Ezponda; second row: Maddie Armstrong, Jenna MacDonald, Haylee Rafuse, and Teagan Webb; front row: Olivia Blanchard.
Avon View High School’s senior girls’ softball team won the regional NSSAF banner May 25. Pictured celebrating are, from left, back row: Marissa Keddy, Maggie Greeno, Emma Smith, Haley Baxter, Morgan Hennigar, Maddie Swinamer, and Nerea Ezponda; second row: Maddie Armstrong, Jenna MacDonald, Haylee Rafuse, and Teagan Webb; front row: Olivia Blanchard. - Contributed
ST. CROIX, N.S. —

The wet weather may have put a damper on some games, but it didn’t prevent Avon View’s senior girls’ softball team from giving it their all.

The team won the NSSAF western zone slow-pitch softball regionals May 25, after two days of stiff competition.

Graduating players and team captains Jenna MacDonald and Haylee Rafuse were excited to accept the regional banner. - Contributed photos
Graduating players and team captains Jenna MacDonald and Haylee Rafuse were excited to accept the regional banner. - Contributed photos

On May 24, the morning games were plagued by rain but by 10 p.m. that night, all six games were completed.

“We were delayed an hour and the first two games were played pretty much in the rain,” said Kelly Harnish, Avon View’s coach.

“After the rain let up, I think it was a pretty good weekend.”

Avon View defeated Horton 7-6, followed by West Kings defeating Park View Education Centre 9-6. Yarmouth then doubled Avon View 8-4, and West Kings bounced Horton 11-4. Yarmouth continued on its winning ways, defeating Park View 17-14. Avon View wrapped up the evening by squeaking out a 3-2 victory over West Kings.

On May 25, Horton defeated Park View 13-11 and West Kings triumphed over Yarmouth 3-1.

Avon View showed no mercy against Park View, winning 13- 3. Horton eked out a 15-14 victory over Yarmouth, which set up the championship match.

Since Horton defeated Yarmouth in the last round robin game, due to a run differential formula, Avon View advanced to the final instead of Yarmouth.

In the championship game, Avon View beat West Kings 8-6 in eight innings. The teams were tied 1-1 heading into the fifth inning.

Avon View went in front 2-1 before West Kings rallied for three runs to take a 4-2 lead, with Victoria Gates collecting a huge double for West Kings. Avon View scored once in the sixth to trail 4-3 entering the seventh inning. Avon View managed to tie the championship game and force an extra inning. It was 8-4 for Avon View entering the bottom of the eighth. West Kings managed two more runs for the exciting 8-6 final.

Harnish said the team’s pitcher-catcher combo of Teagan Webb and Olivia Blanchard was outstanding.

“They were the reason we kept most teams under 10 runs,” said Harnish. “That was the key to our success on the weekend.”

But the team didn’t start off on a winning streak. Harnish said they lost at least five games to start the season, but really turned things around and began gelling mid-May.

“It took a while for things to start clicking and the girls to start getting familiar with one another,” said Harnish.

And with a team that is largely comprised of Grade 9 and 10 student athletes, he sees a bright future ahead.

“It’s a very young crew,” said Harnish, noting there’s only two Grade 12 students and one Grade 11 student.

Members of Avon View High School’s senior girls’ softball team react after the winning catch by Marissa Keddy sealed their regional victory May 25.
Members of Avon View High School’s senior girls’ softball team react after the winning catch by Marissa Keddy sealed their regional victory May 25.

The team is headed to the provincial tournament May 31 in Sydney Mines, Cape Breton. Harnish said the team’s goal was to make it to provincials. Since they succeeded in doing so, Harnish said the focus will be on gaining experience and having fun.

~ With files from Dan Boyd


Round robin standings

At the conclusion of the round-robin portion, the team standings were as follows:

Avon View 3-1

West Kings 3-1

Yarmouth 2-2

Horton 2-2

Park View 0-4

The Avon View Avalanche celebrated a silver medal win at the conclusion of a mid-May, eight-team invitational tournament in St. Croix. The head coach says the team really began to pick up steam around this time, which helped them as they went on to win regionals May 25. Pictured here are, from left, back row: Marissa Keddy, Maggie Greeno, Haylee Rafuse, Lia Sauveur, Emma Smith, Morgan Hennigar, and Sara Baxter, second row: Jenna MacDonald, Haley Baxter, Maddie Armstrong, Nerea Ezponda, Maddie Swinamer, and Teagan Webb; front row: catcher Olivia Blanchard.
The Avon View Avalanche celebrated a silver medal win at the conclusion of a mid-May, eight-team invitational tournament in St. Croix. The head coach says the team really began to pick up steam around this time, which helped them as they went on to win regionals May 25. Pictured here are, from left, back row: Marissa Keddy, Maggie Greeno, Haylee Rafuse, Lia Sauveur, Emma Smith, Morgan Hennigar, and Sara Baxter, second row: Jenna MacDonald, Haley Baxter, Maddie Armstrong, Nerea Ezponda, Maddie Swinamer, and Teagan Webb; front row: catcher Olivia Blanchard.

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