Duncan pitcher Kaliyah St. Amand pitched a perfect game — no walks, no hits — en route to her team, the Langford Lightning, winning the Canadian U19 girls’ softball championship tournament at Langford’s Centennial Park earlier this month.
Last season St. Amand helped Langford’s U17 girls softball team earn the title of Canada’s best. This year, despite the team having moved up an age group and being among the youngest teams in the tournament, the result was the same — another national title, for her and the Lightning.
“This is a back-to-back win,” said a proud St. Amand, who doesn’t turn 18 until December.
The 2023 provincial bronze-winning Lightning and the Beacon Hill Glory were the only two Island teams in the 16-team event, but represented B.C. along with the provincial champion White Rock Renegades ’05 team, the Fraser Valley Fusion, and White Rock’s ‘04 team.
Playing on their home fields in Langford, the pitcher said, was an advantage for her and her team.
“I personally loved having all the support in the stands with us cheering, and them cheering behind us is a great feeling,” she said. “They definitely kept the good energy up.”
Also an advantage, having Canadian National team pitcher Ruby Anderson on the team to learn from, as well as pitchers Brynn Fortier and pick-up Mary McKenzie, St. Amand said.
The Cowichan Secondary graduate was the starting pitcher in five of the eight games, helping lead the Lightning went 7-1 over the course of the weekend, only losing to Ontario-2 in the round robin before rattling off five wins in a row.
The Lightning opened the tournament with a 6-5 win over Team Quebec, followed by a 10-2 win over Kaizen Black, a team from Alberta.
Up next was their only misstep of the tournament, a 3-0 loss to Toronto Fastpitch but they bounced back with a 6-1 win over New Brunswick.
Her perfect game came in the team’s fifth game, a 10-0 win over Beacon Hill.
She laughed and acknowledged both she and her coach didn’t even realize her achievement until well after the fact.
To win it all, Langford had to dispatch the provincial champion Renegades ‘05, which they did by a 7-3 score before ousting Ontario-1 8-3 in the semi-final game.
That set up a rematch with the Renegades ‘05 for all the marbles.
St. Amand and her team didn’t falter, cruising to an 8-1 win to claim the national title — her second in as many years.
Three of St. Amand’s Lightning teammates have committed to play at Div. 1 NCAA schools this fall, and at least four others are headed to other schools to play ball. St. Amand isn’t joining them just yet but she won’t be far behind.
“I am taking a gap year to work and train at home, then I will be looking into schools,” she said. “This year I had more than 13 offers, including one full ride opportunity.”