Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate Staff

Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate Staff

Alberta downs Quebec to claim bronze

Closing games hasn’t been the strength of Alberta at this year’s Baseball Canada Senior Women’s Invitational Championship. On Saturday, they surrendered five runs in the last two innings and barely hung on to beat Quebec 10-9. Then on Sunday morning, they have up six runs in the last two innings and lost to Ontario 6-2.

Closing games hasn’t been the strength of Alberta at this year’s Baseball Canada Senior Women’s Invitational Championship.

On Saturday, they surrendered five runs in the last two innings and barely hung on to beat Quebec 10-9. Then on Sunday morning, they have up six runs in the last two innings and lost to Ontario 6-2.

The Sunday morning loss at Great Chief Park, put Alberta into the bronze medal game and set up a rematch with Quebec. Alberta won the game 8-5 and the bronze medal.

After a sluggish start, Alberta’s bats came alive and they scored two in the 2nd, one in the 3rd and two in the 4th and 5th to jump out to a 7-1 lead.

“We tried to get a little big and pull stuff,” said Alberta head coach Steven Inch. “We had a little chip on our shoulder from the first game. But we turned the page and started to get a good approach at the plate and hit the ball up the middle.”

Shortstop Kelsey Lalor, from Red Deer, drove a deep triple into right field in the sixth inning and came home on a ground ball out at first. She went 1-for-3 at the plate. She wasn’t the only Lalor to have an extra base hit as sister Hailey Lalor pocketed a double of her own.

Paige Hildebrandt and Nicole Luchanski also added doubles, with Luchanski driving in two runs with hers in the fourth inning.

But, as has been Alberta’s struggle in the tournament, they let Quebec back into the ball game.

A combined six errors in the last two innings by Alberta gave Quebec a chance. They cashed two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh before loading the bases with two out.

Pitcher Heidi Northcott, who threw a 100-pitch game on Thursday, pitched the last two innings in relief. With the bases loaded and the tying run on first base, Quebec first baseman Ann Sophie Tremblay came to the dish. Northcott struck her out looking to end the ball game.

“She probably hasn’t relieved a whole lot recently, she’s a workhorse for team Canada as a starter,” said Inch. “Good for her to settle down and pick us up when we needed her to.”

The win gave Alberta a bronze in the tournament, which ran Thursday to Sunday at Great Chief Park.

“It’s always nice to win the last one,” said Inch. “Not what we were aiming for.”

In the gold medal game, B.C. and Ontario battled it out, but in the end B.C. won 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

B.C. jumped out to an early 8-1 lead with an eight-run second inning. Of those eight runs, seven were unearned as errors befell Ontario. Ontario starting pitcher Tylin Lee was pulled in the second inning and Hannah Martensen came on in relief. She pitched four innings of shutout baseball before surrendering the go-ahead run.

Ontario rallied back to make it a competitive game with runs in the third, fifth and seventh and a four-run fourth inning.