Queen Elizabeth ends Ascension Collegiate's bid for three straight softball titles
The boys’ AAAA softball championship was one for the ages.
The two-time defending champions Ascension Collegiate Astros, in Bay Roberts, met the Queen Elizabeth Pioneers in a heavyweight battle to determine the champion at the Carbonear Recreation Complex on Oct. 19.
© Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass
Ascension Collegiate Astros first baseman Bradley Riggs prepares to swing at a pitch during the team's AAAA softball finals matchup with the Queen Elizabeth Pioneers at the Carbonear Recreation Complex on Oct. 19. The Pioneers defeated the Astros 16-14 to dethrone the two-time defending champions.
There was drama, tense moments, lead changes and emotion. Everything you would want when the two undefeated teams clashed to determine the province’s best.
It was softball’s version of Ali and Frazier in Manilla.
The teams traded leads going into the top of the sxith inning. With the Astros leading 10-8, the team hit four homeruns to push its lead to six. Johnny Butler, Brady Barrett, Brandon Moriarity and Stephen Mercer all crushed balls over the fence.
By the bottom of the seventh inning, the Astros were up 14-11 and clung to a three run advantage when the Pioneers stepped to the plate.
The team needed three outs to claim its third straight provincial title.
However, a victory was not in the cards for Ascension.
Queen Elizabeth erased the deficit with a three-run homerun setting up the emotional finish.
The Pioneers would end the game two batters later after a line-drive homerun flied over the left field fence making the final 16-14.
“It was anybody’s game,” said Astros coach Trevor Dixon. “I think we were capable of winning that game.
“Both teams hit really well, and there were some really nice defensive plays.”
The Astros were considered the favourites heading into the tournament having captured the previous two provincial banners.
Dixon praised the work done by his team over the course of the tournament.
“They’re an excellent group of kids and they played hard all weekend,” he said.
The silver medal marked the third straight medal finish for the Astros.
The Astros were one of three local teams participating in the tournament.
The championship game was not the only tense match Ascension found itself in.
In its semifinal game, the Astros squared off with the Laval Cavaliers of Placentia.
It was a defensive battle on both sides. Ascension trailed 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With Stewart Brazil on first base, Bradley Riggs ended the game with a two-run homerun to push the Astros into the finale.
In the round robin, Ascension bested Holy Trinity, Gander Collegiate and Laval.
En route to the semifinals, the Cavaliers defeated Clarenville High, Carbonear Collegiate and lost to Queen Elizabeth.
The host Carbonear Collegiate Sentinels started off the tournament with a win over Clarenville, before dropping its next two games to Laval and Queen Elizabeth.