Napanee Express opened the Ontario Amateur Softball Association junior elimination tournament in Owen Sound Friday night with a 10-0 victory over the Saugeen A’s.
The Express—Napanee 2 on the tournament schedule—scored five times in the third inning to take command of the game.
For a team composed almost entirely of first-year players, winning the opener is a big boost, coach Al Fenwick said.
“It just puts a whole lot of positives on it,” he said. “It doesn’t matter that (Saugeen) wasn’t a strong team, it’s something to build on. We hit the ball hard, we scored some runs, we had a bunch of good catches in the outfield—definitely the kind of game you can build on.”
Luke Severson tossed a one-hitter in a game that was ended after five innings by the mercy rule. He struck out about half the batters he faced. Grant Fry delivered a pair of triples and Marcus Rice belted a two doubles to lead the Napanee attack.
The Express will advance to meet the New Hamburg Cubs, one of the pre-tournament favourites, in a game Saturday at 10 a.m. At the same time, Napanee’s other entry in the 10-team tournament, Shoeless Joe’s, will open against the winner of Friday night’s game between Chatsworth and Innerkip.
Play in the double-knockout affair will continue through Sunday afternoon, as teams compete for one of three berths in the Canadian junior championship tournament, Aug. 10-16 in Napanee.