B.C. Adrenaline captain Tina Gulbrandsen knows persistence pays off. She and the rest of her team have gold medals to prove it.
“I’ve come to this tournament about five years now and there was one year that we didn’t win one game,” said Gulbrandsen. “So coming here and making a win out of it is really, really huge for me, my coach and all the girls who have been here for all of that.
“I don’t even know how to feel right now. I’m so happy,”
B.C. Adrenaline took the women’s title and Ontario’s Miken HR Sports Orioles the men’s at the Canadian Slo-Pitch Championship at Whitehorse’s Pepsi Softball Centre on Saturday.
Both teams had a tough row to hoe, needing a string of wins to claim the titles.
Adrenaline won their last three straight, downing the defending champ Ladybirds from Ontario in their first playoff game, and then the Manitoba Wild 24-17 in the final.
With the win, Adrenaline, who placed third last year, bring home B.C.’s first-ever women’s slo-pitch title from the nationals.
“We kept the whole aspect of team the whole time,” said Gulbrandsen. “When people started to get down or people get out, we were still pumped up. We were the loudest team here.”
The Orioles had an even steeper hill to climb. The Toronto-based team had to win their final five games, including four on the final day Saturday.
“We’re still riding high, but most guys are probably pretty tired after playing four hard games today,” said Orioles captain Wayne Parent. “It was amazing. We’ll probably have a few drinks tonight.
“We didn’t do too well last year so we all wanted to come back and make our mark.”
The Orioles, who placed fourth last year and won in 2014, took the men’s title in a 29-19 win over Ontario’s Mizuno Canucks in the 137th and final game of the championship.
They downed the defending champion Alberta Oilmen in the semi before dealing the Canucks two straight losses, including the last game.
Orioles right fielder Ron Nadalin finished with a .767 record, driving in 17 runs on 23 hits in 30 at-bats, and was named MVP.
“He was a clutch hitter. Real phenomenal,” said Parent. “A lot of guys were clutch hitters, but Ronny had those couple extra times that were crucial.”
A total of 27 men’s and women’s teams — including four from Yukon — took part in the championship, which was the first slo-pitch nationals hosted by Softball Yukon since 1989. Next year’s championship will take place in Saint-Bruno, Quebec.
“This place is really awesome. It kind of reminds me of home,” said Gulbrandsen, who lives in Langley, B.C.
“Everyone was going crazy about the weather, going from hot to cold, but I was like, ‘This is like home.’”
“It was a pleasant surprise because I didn’t know much about the area,” said Parent. “It’s a beautiful area. I’d like to come back, actually.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org