Mary First HWCAA Team at OFSAA Slo-Pitch

St. Mary First HWCAA Team at OFSAA Slo-Pitch
Posted on 06/13/2024

By Larry Moko

The St. Mary Crusaders made history this week.

St. Mary became the first Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association team to compete at an OFSAA girls’ slo-pitch festival.

And while the Crusaders failed to snag the overall championship, their coach, Charley Giudice, said the two-day event was an enjoyable experience for the players.

Games were played at Turner Park’s adjoining diamonds on the Hamilton Mountain and St. Mary hosted a banquet for the 16-teams on Monday night.

“I feel the tournament and the entire event went extremely well,” the St. Mary coach/convenor said. “Better than I ever could have imagined. The coaches were very happy with the tournament, the facilities and the organization. The officials did a great job. And most importantly, the players seemed to have a great time.

“It was humbling to have so many young athletes and coaches come thank us and tell us how much they enjoyed themselves. That’s really what matters. We wanted to build great memories for all involved and it felt like we accomplished that.”

The Sandwich Sabres of LaSalle took top honours. They downed the Kingsville Cavaliers, 7-1, in the final. Last year, in the festival’s unofficial debut, the championship went to Richview C.I. of Toronto.

“We were close to being 4-1,” Giudice said of the Crusaders overall performance in five starts. Their actual record, however, was 2-3.

“We led 15-8 in the final inning against St. Martin but let it slip away.”

After opening pool play with a 12-3 victory over the Bayside Red Devils, St. Mary dropped a heart-breaking 16-15 decision to the St. Martin Mustangs and fell 16-5 to third-seeded Kingsville.

St. Mary -- Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league champion for seven of the past eight years – then topped Kitchener St. 

Mary’s Eagles, 14-5, in a consolation semifinal.

Next came an extra-inning contest against the Norwell Varsity Reds. St. Mary scored two runs in the eighth, but 

Norwell replied with three in their half of the inning for a 14-13 victory.

Sadie Noonan pitched for the Crusaders in the consolation final and Jade McNicol handled that role against the Eagles.

Kendra Restauri, an outfield rover, had a two-run triple to help St. Mary recover from a 4-0 deficit in the finale to decide ninth place.

Against the Eagles, Crusaders shortstop Jessica Gould provided several key defensive plays and contributed a long run-scoring triple.

Other members of the Crusaders included Hannah Meadows, Jessica Taylor, Nicole Lester, Madisyn Pozdrowski, Rylie Griffiths, Olivia Hirlehey, Mila Paithouski, Mallory Novisedlak, Taylor Klyne, Chloe Pender, Meara Quinlan and Fran Boffa.
Milton’s Bishop Reding Royals, who defeated both St. Mary and the St. Thomas More Knights in the recent Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference playoffs, won the OFSAA bronze medal, 6-5 over South Huron.

Photos by Bob Butrym, RFB Sport Photography

More photos by HWCDSB Athletics Facebook page here