Ashley Wareham is going back to the Western Canadian Fastball Championships.
The Airdrie native, who pitches and plays second base for the Calgary Rage in Division 2 of the Calgary Women’s Fastball Association, led her team to a 6W-1L record at provincials in Lacombe, July 16-18.
The team will now compete at the Westerns in Winnipeg Aug. 5-8, after beating the Strathmore Magic 8-6 in the provincial final and tournament rubber match between the two teams. Wareham hit a two-run homer and pitched the final inning and two-thirds to secure the victory.
“It felt pretty good, especially since we have a big rivalry with Strathmore,” Wareham said.
“My coach just put me in to close it down. I never really get nervous – that’s why he puts me in I guess. Getting nervous just gets you in trouble. When it’s an important situation, and we don’t want to give up any runs, I don’t really pitch with a lot of speed. I just go for accuracy. It doesn’t matter if you strike them out, as long as you get them out.”
The Rage earned a spot in the final after Wareham pitched a 9-1 win, one of her three wins in three starts, against the Sherwood Park Shock in a Page playoff game.
The team lost 8-6 to Strathmore in the 1 vs. 2 playoff game, where the winner advanced directly to the final and the loser had to play the Page game against the winner of the 3 vs. 4 playoff game.
Earlier in the tournament, Wareham pitched a near-perfect, three-hit 5-0 win over Strathmore, last year’s Western Canadian runners-up. She pitched all seven innings and faced only 23 batters.
“That was a pretty good game and they only had three base runners the entire time,” Wareham said.
The Rage, which has won every tournament it has played in this year, finished the round robin in first place with a perfect 4W-0L record. Wareham won the opener 7-6 against Lacombe, played second base in a 9-2 win over Calahoo and an 8-7 win over Sherwood Park, as well as pitched the initial win over Strathmore.
Her team, which also has a 10W-4L-2T record in league play, will now continue its regular schedule in preparation for the Westerns.
“The games that we’re playing aren’t too important, so I’m hoping that we’ll use them as practice to try some things out,” Wareham said. “I think our chances in Winnipeg will be pretty good.”