CORNER BROOK Jill Mason didn’t leave tournament organizers any other choice for MVP honours.
Mason belted an inside-the-park homer and a single in a 3-for-5 effort to lead the Diamonds to a 13-7 win over the Rapid Power Bees in the final game at the 2014 provincial women’s softball championship Sunday afternoon.
Mason served as the batterymate for winning pitcher Sami Kennedy, who scattered nine hits and four walks in a complete game at Fred Basha Memorial Park.
The talented catcher hit the ball hard all weekend for the Diamonds — one of two entries from St. John’s — so it didn’t appear to be a surprise when her name was called when the MVP trophy was presented following the seven-inning contest under scorching skies Sunday.
It was Mason’s move in the second inning that may have been a turning point in the game. With the Bees stinging starter Kennedy already for four runs in the top of the second, Mason called time and called the girls together on the mound in an effort to settle the team down.
She wanted to remind the girls that there is seven innings in a game and didn’t want panic to settle into the group.
“I just wanted to tell them to settle down and keep their head in the game,” Mason said of her strategic gathering of the girls. “Try to keep errors to a mininum and play ball like you play home. I told told them there was lots of ball left so keep calm.”
Four was all the Bees would muster in the second inning as Kennedy pitched out of a jam and actually got stronger as the lanky right-hander held the Bees to just a brace of runs in the sixth after her team trailed 5-1 after two innings.
Mason was pleased with how the girls stayed focus all weekend to post five straight wins to claim bragging rights to the crown.
“Everybody batted well and played well as a team,” she said. “We made a few errors, but we definitely picked it up in the end.”
Kearney Druken was an offensive force for the Diamonds — who knocked off the Rangers 13-6 in the other semifinal encounter — in the championship game with a homer in a 2-for-4 outing, while Rebecca Mahar drove in three runs going 2-for-3 at the dish.
Jillian Wells drove in two runs in a 2-for-5 outing to lead the offensive surge for the Bees, while Kayla Brake and Bees ace Tammy Kendell had two hits apiece in a losing cause.
Kendell, who tossed a complete game to lead the Bees to a stunning 8-7 win over the Angels of St. John’s in semifinal play Sunday morning to advance, was tagged with the loss after giving up 13 runs on 13 hits.
“They were untouchable all weekend. We did what we could and gave them a run for their money,” Kendell said a fatigued Kendell who tossed 14 innings.
Kendell felt it was a great effort from the Bees when she looks at a roster sprinkled with newcomers to the sport.
“A lot of them are new players first time in it. They had fun and enjoyed it,” Kendell said.
The following is a look at round-robin scores and award winners from the 2014 provincial women’s softball championship held this past weekend at Fred Basha Memorial Park in Corner Brook:
Diamonds 15, Angels 8
Whelan’s Gate 10, KSAB Rangers 5
Rapid Power Bees 7, KSAB Rangers 2
Angels 10, Whelan’s Gate 3
Rapid Power Bees 3, Diamonds 10
Angels 23, Rangers 4
Rapid Power Bees 8, Whelan’s Gate 4
Diamonds 12, KSAB Rangers 6
Angels 12, Rapid Power Bees 5
Diamonds 23, Whelan’s Gate 12
1st Diamonds 13, 4th Whelan’s Gate 5
3rd Rapid Power Bees 8, 2nd Angels 7
Diamonds 13, Rapid Power Bees 7
Top Batter — Nikki Rose Whelan’s Gate (.667 average)
Sportsmanship and Ability — Donna Clarke KSAB Rangers
Tournament MVP — Jill Mason Diamonds of St. John’s