Visiting teams will be seeing double when they come to Napanee for the Canadian junior fastball championship in August.
That’s because there will be two teams representing the host town, thanks to a courageous display Saturday by the Napanee Express at the Ontario Amateur Softball Association junior elimination tournament in Owen Sound.
After opening with a win Friday night, the Express, one of two Napanee teams in the tournament, dropped a heart-breaking 10-9 decision Saturday morning against New Hamburg, one of the pre-tournament favourites.
In that game, the Express chased Tyler Randerson and Matt Wardrop, two of the top pitchers in the province, before finally succumbing to two New Hamburg runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Facing elimination with their next defeat, the Express responded with a 6-1 win over Innerkip. They stayed on the field to post a 2-0 victory over Owen Sound immediately afterward.
Luke Severson, a second-year junior from Domville—and the only second-year junior on the team—allowed just one run in the 14 innings of those two games. In all, he’s pitched 24 of 26 innings the Express has played at this tournament.
One of four teams left alive at the 10-team, double-elimination affair, the Express has qualified for the national championship tournament.
Napanee’s other team, Shoeless Joe’s, is also among the surviving final four, though Joe’s had already received the host team’s berth in the national competition.