The Cloverdale Fury 01 team won gold in the BC Provincial Softball Playoff in Nanaimo on Sunday, July 16, securing them a spot in the Western Championships in Manitoba this August.
The team is undefeated in league play, ranking first in the Lower Mainland with 27 wins and 1 tie to their name this season. As for tournament play, they’ve lost four games in four tournaments.
Cloverdale Fury ‘01 qualified for the provicials by winning gold in the district playoffs, facing off against many contenders, including their younger counterpart, Cloverdale Fury ‘02 team. The 2002 team won the silver medal and also went on to provincials, where they placed fourth.
Cloverdale Fury ‘01 lost their first game during the tournament to Langford Lightning, but recovered quickly, winning the remainder of the games and beating the Coquitlam Classics in the final to secure their spot in the Western Championships.
The Fury ‘01 team this year is a bit of a “mishmash” according to coach Correy Hepner, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get the job done.
The majority of the team is in the 2001 age group, but it also include players from the 2002 and 2003 age groups.
“There’s varying levels of skill,” said Hepner, but she added that in the six years she’s been coaching, she’s “never had such a great team chemistry.”
“It’s crazy how great it is,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll get this [team] again.”
A core six players of the 12-player team have been playing softball together since they were six years old. This year’s new additions to the team have worked with that six to create one seamless unit.
A large part of the team’s success is in their shared competitive attitude, said Hepner.
“They’re there to play the game,” she said. “They have the same goal in mind, to always be competing. They eat, sleep and breathe softball.”
Instead of what Hepner calls the “usual focus”—telling the team that the first step is to have fun, and then the wins will come — she says the Cloverdale Fury team needs to win in order to have fun.
“In order for these girls to have fun, they need to compete and be strong and win,” she said.
But the team wouldn’t be able to win without their dedication to each other. Hepner said that about half of her team should be playing at a higher level, but that the players stay because “this is their team.”
Hepner said that her coaching team, made up of assistant coaches Mike Debruyn and Kennedy Hewer, trainer Mike Hepner and manager Sue Dawkins, has that same championship chemistry.
All 12 players and their coaching staff will be headed to the Western Championships, held in Brandon, Manitoba, from August 10–13 to faceoff against teams from across Western Canada.