The Okanagan Elite lived up to its name.
The Elite is the best U17B girl’s softball team in Western Canada, winning the title in St. Albert, Alta. Sunday, Aug. 7, with a mercy-rule win over the Cloverdale Fury in the all-B.C. final.
Edmonton’s River City Hornets – the only team to defeat the Elite in the Westerns – won the bronze medal.
“They did it. Gold medal,” said Okanagan coach Ron Koch on the team’s Facebook page. “So proud of this team.”
Vernon’s Chris Topping was an assistant coach on the team. His daughter, Jordyn, a pitcher, could not play in the tournament due to season-ending knee surgery a week prior to the championships, but she and her crutches were in St. Albert for support.
The Elite, who won bronze at the provincials in July in Richmond to qualify for Westerns, went 5-1 in the preliminary round, their only blemish being a defeat to the Hornets. They did not face the Fury in the round-robin.
The provincial rivals did meet in the opening game of the medal round with Okanagan coming out on top to advance to the final.
Cloverdale defeated River City to advance to the championship.
The Elite roster is made up of players from Naramata to Tappen and Kamloops. They include:
Jordyn Topping (Vernon); Avadawn Hawrys, Cassie Scott (Enderby); Mandy Oakland, Jaylen Moraice-Budalich (Salmon Arm); Jada Brown (Tappen); Sydney Holkestad (Lake Country); Elle Woodman-Eglison (Naramata); Cassidy Bank, Bella Di Palma, Lauren Towill (Kelowna); Marissa Scott (Kamloops).
The team picked up two players from Vancouver and Abbotsford for the Western Canadians.
After the game, Koch announced that the players had voted to retire all-star shortstop Bank’s No. 15 jersey, meaning no Elite player will wear the number again.
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