The Airdrie Angels U19D women’s softball team capped off a successful 2021 season on Aug. 21, winning the provincial championship with a 12-2 victory over the Fort Saskatchewan Sliders.
“It was a great game – our defence was unbelievable and the offence just pounded away,” said Kelly Kot, the Angels’ head coach.
“It was a total team effort. Everyone contributed their part, whatever part they played.”
The Angels’ dominant showing in the gold-medal game capped off an unbeaten weekend, as Airdrie went 5-0 in Grande Prairie, outscoring their opponents 75-22.
While the provincial victory was ultimately a team effort, Kot highlighted pitchers Grace Desveaux and Jarilyn Craig, and said team newcomer Maya Knutsvig had a great weekend at the plate, hitting four home runs.
“Our defence played really well the entire tournament,” he said. “We had the pitching, which was the big difference.”
The victory in the final over Fort Saskatchewan marked the U19D Angels’ second provincial title in the last four years, as the team also won the accolade in 2018. According to Kot, the squad also earned a provincial bronze in 2019.
However, he said the Angels’ 2021 roster was virtually a total rebuild from those previous podium-placing teams.
“This year, we only had one player from the 2019 team, and we had no players from the team that won gold in 2018,” he said, adding the U19 Angels always manage to instill a strong sense of teamwork.
“It’s the girls. They form a strong bond early in the year and just go throughout the season with that constant consistency and improvement.”
While the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19, Kot said the 2021 season also had its ups and downs as a result of the ongoing pandemic. He said the season started and ended late, as restrictions on team sport competitions repeatedly came and went.
Once they were finally able to kick off their season in June, the Angels went 12-5 in their regular season, losing out in the quarter-finals of the Calgary Minor Softball playoffs.
“It was a crazy year, with COVID,” Kot said. “We started up in April but were shut down in May for a while. The season finally started on June 10. Normally, we’d be done by late July.”
The U19D team wasn't the only Angels squad that made the podium at provincials this year, as the U14D team earned bronze.