Two Maple Ridge players are part of the top peewee girls fastpitch team in Canada.
Teammates and best friends Elizabeth Murphy and Courtney De Adder helped the White Rock Renegades 98 take top spot at the U14 peewee girls national championships, held from Aug. 14 to 19 in Brampton, Ont.
It took a while for the Renegades to find their top form. They battled to a 3-3 record in round-robin play before going unbeaten in the playoffs to capture the Canadian crown.
In the playoff round, the Renegades shut out Brantford, Ont. 4-0, defeated the Ontario provincial champions (and hosts) from Brampton by a 6-1 count, then recorded three consecutive wins via the mercy rule.
White Rock blanked Guelph, Ont. and Richmond by identical 8-0 scores before blasting the Surrey Storm 98 7-0 in the Canadian final.
Murphy pitched the first four innings of the championship game.
This was the same Storm 98 team that the Renegades edged 10 in the B.C. title contest held in Richmond earlier this summer.
De Adder said the Renegades' long layoff was a factor in the team's slow start in Brampton. White Rock hadn't played together as a team since winning the B.C. championship on July 17.
"We had such a long break," said De Adder, who was positioned primarily at second base during the tournament but also played first base for a short spell. "We hadn't played since provincials so we might have been sleeping. We didn't realize it was time to play."
De Adder's dad Ralph joked that the Renegades forgot their "A" game at the airport.
The Renegades' timing of ramping up their play to a higher level was spot on.
"We woke up and started playing our game," De Adder said.
B.C. entries dominated the Canadian championships with first, second, and third results among the 12 teams involved. Teams came from across Canada, as far away as Saskatchewan and Quebec.
The Renegades won gold, with the Storm taking silver and the Richmond Islanders rounding out the top three.
Murphy said it feels amazing to be a member of the best team in Canada.
"The experience at the Canadian Nationals was amazing," she said. "As a team we said one of our goals is to medal and we accomplished that."
"It was the best thing ever," De Adder added.
This most recent win was part of a triple crown summer for Murphy and De Adder.
They won the B.C. title, gold medals as members the winning Zone 3 (Fraser Valley) entry at the BC Summer Games in Surrey in late July, and capped it all off with the Canadian title victory.
This final win was the sweetest for Murphy, who was taking part in her first Canadian national tournament.
"I was really excited to be there," she said. "You may only get the chance to be there once or twice in your playing career."
Despite the lopsided scores during the second half of the tournament, Murphy described the competition as "quite tough."
"All of the teams were really good and almost all of our games were really close," she said. "It was a lot of fun to watch other teams play and learn some new things."
On Aug. 19, the Renegades were determined to make the last day of their season their best, Murphy said.
"And we did," she noted. "In the final game it was exciting because we were playing Surrey Storm and we never got a run until the fifth inning."
Once the final ended, Murphy and her teammates were ecstatic.
"We were all running up to each other and giving each other big hugs," she said.