A Saanich softball team battled it out on the provincial stage and left with their heads held high and a silver medal around their necks.
The Svee women’s softball team represented the Victoria Saanich Women’s Softball Association in the provincial intermediate A tournament July 23-24, in Richmond.
After starting the tournament hot with two straight wins, they lost their first playoff game in extra innings. With the tournament running on double knockout rules – two losses and you’re out – they won four straight games to make it to the finals including an extra-inning win in the semi-finals. But Svee just fell short at the final hurdle, losing to the North Vancouver Avalanche in the final game and bringing home the silver medal.
“We just kept winning like back-to-back hard, stressful games. By the time we made it to the finals, we had already played three games that day, and the other team had only played one. So we were exhausted and we were happy to get silver even though we lost that game. We were just really happy we made it there,” said Rachelle Little, centre-fielder and an executive for the softball association.
The journey to the final had its ups and downs for the team and has been a long one for some members. This was the first time the team has been able to play in a tournament since the pandemic. COVID cancellations, lack of numbers and then high COVID case counts among the team led to missing multiple tournaments. Indeed they only had one exhibition match before the tournament kicked off.
The players, ranging in age between 21 to 35, are a mix of rookies and veterans. Little has been playing since 2004, when the association was called the Strawberry Vale Softball Association and Little was 14 and playing in little league. She’s been playing with three members of the team since then, while others have joined along the way. But she’s also seen a number of players come and go.
Little said it can be challenging to find games to play on the Island – this year they only played two other adult women’s teams on the Island – which means they have to travel to the mainland for tournaments.
“I think a lot of women, when they reach a certain age, they’re like, I can’t play this competitive anymore. It’s too much of a commitment,” said Little. But she said Svee trains twice a week during the off-season and usually practise once a week and play once a week during the season, meaning it’s not much more of a commitment than any beer league.
“Even though half of our team is in their 30s, you can still keep getting better, even though you’re getting older.”