NORTH RIVER - All the motivation the North River Gators needed yesterday was stated in one simple fact.
"I think we were just getting sick and tired of losing," Katie Munro, outfielder for the Gators, said matter-of-factly, just minutes after her team posted its first win of the tournament.
"I know walking around in your jersey, it's not embarrassing to say, but it's like, ‘Look at those guys, they haven't won a game yet, why are they even here?' To me, that's what it felt like, but we wanted to show that we deserve to be here and just beating Ontario proved it."
Indeed it did.
The Gators put together seven hits and received a whale of a game from pitcher Lisa Green, en route to a 7-0 five-inning victory over the Mississauga North Tigers.
The win kept the Gators' championship round hopes alive for the time being, however, a 3-1 loss on Friday night to Saskatchewan #2 eliminated that possibility. North River finished preliminary play with a 1-5 record.
After opening the tournament with back-to-back losses on Wednesday, North River suffered a 10-2 loss to the Brantford Bobcats late Thursday night and fell 8-0 to Quebec Friday morning.
The Gators had failed to get their bats going all week and scored just seven runs through their first four games.
Yesterday afternoon, however, they put the bat on the ball, were aggressive on the base paths and played more carefree than in previous games.
"The great thing was they never felt any pressure," said coach John Shipley. "They played solid D and came up with the sticks. The big thing is, we weren't getting the clutch hits. But they seemed to have taken it upon themselves and relax up there."
Allison Shunamon had two hits and drove in three runs for North River in the win, while Paige MacDonald added two hits, including and inside-the-park home run.
Green spun a tidy five-hit shutout for the win.
"Lisa's been a workhorse for us all year," Shipley said. She's a great person, she's captain, leader on the team and it's obvious she can throw."
B pool teams Brantford, Ont. (6-0), Manitoba (4-1), Quebec (3-2) and Sask. #2 (3-3) have qualified for the championship round.
In the A pool, B.C. (5-0), Saskatoon Synergy (4-1), Ottawa Valley (4-1) and Edmonton (3-3) all advanced.