A Langford softball team has been crowned the best in the country after winning its first-ever national championship in Montreal between Aug. 17 and 21.
Langford Lightning U17A Girls won their age group, which coach Chad Bryden called the most competitive division in the sport. The team bounced back from a disappointing loss in the provincial championship finals against Fraser Valley Fusion to beat them twice, including 8-2 in the final. The team went unbeaten in the Montreal tournament, while teams from B.C. came first, second and third in the tournament’s final rankings.
“I felt like it was a lofty goal for us to win the Canadian championships. However, without knowing our competition, it was really quite tough to know. We just knew that we wanted to first of all qualify to get there, and then it was our goal to win. But really, we didn’t know who we’d be playing against, or the quality of any of the competition,” said Bryden.
Langford won the provincial championship last year and was set to go to nationals as the No. 1 seed from B.C., but the tournament got cancelled due to COVID, making this year’s win extra special, said Bryden.
Most of the team has been together for five years and it’s been a long journey of improving together. This year the team had lots of preparation, playing in big tournaments in the U.S. and Canada.
“We’ve played an incredible 105 games this year. So the girls have been extremely, extremely busy practising playing and travelling. So it’s definitely a great reward for them for all the work they’ve put in. They’ve missed a lot of time with different things kids their age are doing. So it was exciting and rewarding for them to be able to win it and feel like all their hard work was worth it really.”
Bryden thanked the community for supporting the softball association which allowed the team to reach the highest level, he said.