Islanders hosting best in the west

By Don Fennell

Published 5:54 PDT, Thu August 10, 2017

Nine teams are vying this weekend for the chance to call themselves the best in the west.

Two teams each from Canada’s four western provinces—Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia (including a third in the host Richmond Islanders)—will battle it out at the under-18 Western Canadian girls’ softball championship Aug. 10 to 13 at London Park.

When the dust settles, says Islanders’ head coach Barry Riva, the team that ultimately emerges victorious will likely be the one with the best pitching.

Manitoba is represented by provincial champion Central Energy, which has a history of producing elite level players, and the Manitoba Angels from the Winnipeg area. Saskatchewan entries are the provincial champion Oxbow South East Hawks and runners-up Melfort Spirit, while Alberta is represented by the provincial champion Irma Tigers and finalist Red Deer Rage.

South Delta Invaders are the current B.C. champions, with Vancouver Wildcats being the other provincial rep.

Richmond hosts Irma in one of the two tournament openers at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 10. Also on tap at that time is Manitoba Angels versus Oxbow. At 11 a.m. Vancouver meets Red Deer, while at noon it’s the Angels versus Irma, at 2 p.m. Melfort versus Red Deer, at 3 p.m. Vancouver versus the Angels and south Delta versus Irma, and at 6:30 p.m. Islanders vs. Melfort and Red Deer versus Central Energy.

Play resumes at 9 a.m. Friday with the Angels meeting South Delta and Vancouver playing Melfort. At 11 a.m., the Islanders face Red Deer and Oxbow meets Irma, at noon it’s Central Energy and Vancouver and Melfort versus South Delta, at 2 p.m. Red Deer versus the Angels and the Islanders and Oxbow.

Saturday’s final round-robin games are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with Central Energy playing Oxbow and Red Deer facing South Delta, at 10 a.m. Irma playing Melfort, at noon Oxbow versus Vancouver and Islanders versus Angels.

If two teams are still tied after round-robin play, there will be a tie-breaker game at 2 p.m.

The top four teams will then advance to a modified playoff. At 6 p.m., two semifinal games will be played featuring the top two teams after round-robin play facing off and the third- and fourth-place finishers. The winner of the first game will advance straight to Sunday’s final at 1 p.m., while the loser will play the winner of the other semifinal game at 10 a.m. for the chance to play in the championship game.

Playoffs are scheduled for Sunday, semifinal at 10 a.m. with the final at 1 p.m.

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