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Steele brings home gold

Steele brings home Canadian bronze

 

 Added to roster for U15 championship Kenzie Steele helps UTM win medal

 while Lexie Sawyer wins U17 provincial gold with D1 Nationals

 

  August 11, 2022

 

 

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Lexie Sawyer, front row, second from right, with her D1 Nationals U17 teammates and coaches, including Courtney Gilbert, of St. Thomas, front row, far right.

  

 

 

By Rob J. Ross 

ST. THOMAS - Kenzie Steele had an experience of a lifetime out on the western prairie.

The 14-year old from Springfield, won a bronze medal, playing for UTM 2K7 Southwest, at the Canadian U15 girls fast pitch championship, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. August 3-7.

"Honestly it's an amazing feeling, I never expected anything like this," Steele said. "When I got asked, I was in shock. Competing at Nationals has always been a dream and I'm so glad I got to accomplish it."

Steele, who usually plays with the D1 Nationals, received a call from coach Darryl O'Reilly, to join his UTM team, out of Kitchener.

Steele played right field and batted .333 over the tournament.  The Grade 10 student at East Elgin secondary school also pitched 6.2 innings, striking out five batters.

"There was many memorable moments for me at Nationals," Steele said. "Competing and making new friends was an amazing experience. Playing teams from all over the country was also super cool. To see other teams' compassion and drive to get a medal was like no other. Everyone competed super hard and made this tournament one that no one will ever forget."



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Kenzie Steele with her bronze medal, from the U15 Canadian fast pitch championship, with UTM Southwest.

Sawyer a Provincial champ

Lexie Sawyer helped D1 Nationals win the Provincial Women's Softball Association of Ontario U17 tier 1 title, in Windsor, August 5-7.

The St. Thomas native batted. 353, with a home run and had six RBI.

"It was unreal. There was tons of emotions the whole weekend," Sawyer said. "We've got about five girls that aren't going to be on this team next year due to their age. We found a way to be positive and play for each other. We beat a team twice this weekend that we've struggled against earlier in the season, so to pull through and exceed expectations was amazing."

Sawyer has the memory of making the final out in the gold medal game.

"I kept calm, fielded the ball clean and got the out," Sawyer said. "After the final out, we ran to our pitcher, who has pitched amazing for us all season and we all started crying."

Sawyer now prepares for the U17 Canadian championships, August 17-21, in Montreal, but with a different team, the Aurora Diggers.

"As soon as I got the call from the coach asking me to play for them, I couldn't stop smiling," Sawyer said. "It's great that they've watched me play before and they've taken note. Like I've been told before, you never know who's watching, so play your heart out every time you step on the field."

Aurora was watching Sawyer, at the Canadian qualifying tournament, July 7-10. D1 didn't have their A game that weekend, but three D1 players have been picked up, including pitcher Chloe Hocquard, by the Whitby Eagles.

"We lost to Aurora and Whitby and that knocked us out," Sawyer said. "But during provincials, we won against those teams, 10-2, 5-1 and 10-3."

D1 Nationals' manager Courtney Gilbert, says Gilbert "has played rock solid defence all year. She makes plays in big situations and does so flawlessly. She thinks the game well and always knows where the next play is."

Like Steele did with UTM, Sawyer is certainly aiming to help Aurora bring home a medal.

 

 


        rob@hometownplay.ca

 

 

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