A decision to come back for one final season has already produced a major highlight for the 2000B Richmond Islanders.
The girls rep softball team captured last weekend’s Fourth Annual Cat Wheatley Memorial Tournament. It’s event the Islanders happened to co-host with the Richmond Girls Softball Association at London Park.
Catherine Wheatley — a longtime RGSA player and coach — passed away in April 2016 from injuries sustained in a car accident. She was just 22 and was volunteering as an assistant coach with the 2000Bs at the time.
The girls finished runner-up two years ago then never could get on track last season and failed to advance to the playoff round. At the time, it was believed to be the team’s final appearance with the girls set to go their different ways.
However, there would be a change of heart thanks to a focus on weekend tournament play and less mid-week commitments. The team has already completed its Letter of Intent to attend this summer’s U19 Western Canadian Championships in Alberta.
Now, the girls have won the tournament that meant so much to them and their parents.
The Islanders were the class of the 16-team event — rolling to seven straight victories and surrendering no more than three runs.
Round-robin wins came against Fleetwood Force (7-0), Parksville Rage (9-3), Nanaimo Diamonds (8-1) and Cloverdale ’01 Fury 4-2. Richmond then defeated Abbotsford Outlaws (5-2), Parksville again (5-2) and capped the run with a 4-1 triumph over the South Delta Invaders in the title game.
The Islanders line-up features:Ayden Foort, Cate Sykes, Ellen Yam, Harper Gibson, Jessica Porter, Josie Cooke, Katie Yee, Mackenzie Last, Natalie Caras, Racquel Bennett, Sarah Peardon, Shanelle Gutenbergand Sheetal Reddy.The girls are coached by Troy Cooke with assistants Scott Porter and Ed Yee.
Thanks to generous donations, the tournament raised $1,200 toward the Cat Wheatley Scholarship Fund. This year’s recipients included 2000B Islanders Last, Caras and Gibson.
It was a solid showing for the 2002B Islanders in their debut season at the U19 level — reaching the semi-finals.