Chilliwack players help Fusion capture national fastpitch title

Abigail Bates and Anika Janzen led their team past a Manitoba squad in the U-14 championship game.

Chilliwack’s Abigail Bates and Anika Janzen helped the Fraser Valley Fusion grab gold at the Canadian U-14 Fastpitch Championships.

The 26 team tournament was held Aug. 15-19 in Montreal, Quebec.

The Fusion — a collection of players from Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Delta and Maple Ridge — went 4-1 in round robin play.

They started strong with a 15-0 whomping of the Newfoundland-Labrador Selects, followed by a 9-3 win over the B.C. Thunder, a 23-0 whitewash of the New Brunswick KV Dynamite and a 5-3 victory over the Brampton (Ontario) Blazers.

Their only stumble in the preliminary round came in their fifth game, a 9-8 loss to Manitoba’s Smitty’s Terminators.

In third place heading into the playoffs, the Fusion drew the Waterloo (Ontario) Ghosts and trailed 5-4 in the seventh inning. With Fusion runners already on first and second, Bates drew a walk to load the bases. A single by Abbotsford’s Reilley Coghill brought the tying and go-ahead runs home and Bates scored an insurance run, coming home on a single by Langley’s Kayla White.

Janzen made her biggest contributions in the field. Playing second base, she recorded all three put-outs in the second inning.

A 3-2 loss to their nemesis, the Terminators, left the Fusion in a must-win scenario against the Victoria Devils, and they gutted out a 4-2 win to stay in title contention.

And so, for the third time in the tournament, the Fusion matched up against the Terminators.

The Manitobans jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but the Fusion answered with four of their own in the third inning.

That accounted for all the scoring as the Fusion captured the crown with a 4-3 win.

“This dream of ours came true,” Janzen said. “Nationals brought us closer as a team. We fought so hard and came out victorious together.”

“I’m so proud to play for Fusion and to be able to play with such amazing, talented teammates,” Bates added. “It was so great to represent Chilliwack and B.C. in Montreal!”

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