Summing up the London Cubs’ adventure

Fri 24 Aug 2018


The GB Under-13 London Cubs achieved their highest-ever placing this summer at the annual European Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy tournament in Collecchio, Italy, played from 15-18 August.  In this article, Team Manager Julie Spittle looks back on the adventure.


The GB Under-13 Cubs returned from the 7th European Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy tournament with their highest finish to date.

After deciding to enter Sport Division this year rather than the Futures Division, we knew that the competition was going to be tougher than in previous years and we told the squad this right from the start.

Preparation

Head Coach Jodie Rushin and the coaching staff agreed that we needed to do a training camp before we left for Italy, and that we needed to have a couple of days in Italy before the tournament started on Wednesday 15 August for training and a scrimmage game.

The training camp was the first time that the whole team had trained together, and it also gave the girls a chance to meet each other and bond as a team.

A successful training camp meant that the Cubs were looking like a team and acting like a team before we had even left the country. They gelled well and friendships were formed almost immediately.

Once in Italy we had time to settle in and chill out a bit before heading to the field for training on Monday.  This session enabled us to train on a dirt field and in the climate they would be playing in for the week.

On Tuesday, we had another training session and also a scrimmage game with the Moscovians.  We started the game playing their youth side who were entered in the Futures Division and after three innings we played Moscovia 2, who were in our division.  The team did well in this game though, as predicted, some of the girls showed a few jitters.  For some of them this was completely understandable as it was the first proper game of fastpitch they had played.

Although we had to call the game after about five innings due to rain, the team played well and we won the game, giving the girls a confidence boost to set them up for the week ahead.

Tough start

We knew that our first two games of the tournament were going to be our toughest, first against Moscovia 1 on Wednesday and then Italy 2 on Thursday morning.  Playing in the Sport Division meant there was no limit to the number of innings that a pitcher could pitch and it also meant there was no mercy rule.  Games were five innings or no new inning after 90 minutes.  Also, if the girls showed discipline in the box and earned a base on balls, then they got it.  There was no soft toss like in the Futures Division!

With the above in mind our game against Moscovia finished 10-3 to them.  We should have scored more runs but couldn’t quite pull it off. 

Against Italy 2 the score was 11-0.  Although we didn’t score any runs and they scored 11 in a four- inning game, there were still positives to take away and the girls showed improvement.  We held the Italians scoreless in the last two innings and took some good catches during the game.

We were hoping to get our first win against the Brabant Bandits on Thursday evening and it was a tight game from start to finish.  They scored in the first, fourth and fifth innings and went up and down in order in the second and third.  We couldn’t score until the last two innings, but we took the lead in the top of the fifth inning but couldn’t quite hold on to it as they scored the winning runs in the bottom of the frame.

Success

Friday was the start of the playoff rounds and we would face Moscovia 2 and Joudrs Orange.  The coaches had been working hard watching our opposition play in other matches and this was the day when everything started to come right. 

It was a close game against Moscovia 2, but we were able to hold them at the end to take our first win of the tournament by a score of 3-2.

Against Joudrs Orange we had 10 strikeouts, a great tag at third base and a couple of good catches on fly balls, and we only allowed two runs.  We scored in the first, third and fourth innings to win the game 7-2.  The Cubs were definitely on a roll, and winning against Joudrs had put us into the fifth-place playoff game.

We wouldn't know our opposition until after the 9.00 am game the next day, but it was going to be either Bandits or Moscovia 2.  We wanted it to be Bandits as the Cubs wanted to even the score!

Bandits it was, and the girls were determined.  Georgia Wilson pitched up a storm, giving them nothing, with 13 strikeouts, with Matilde Crapanzano and Campbell Lazar getting the other two outs on 4-3 plays.  We scored plenty of runs and the final score was 9-0.

We had done it, finishing in our best placing so far in the seven years we have been attending the EMRYT.

We had three wins, three losses, fifth place, fourth place in the team batting stats, 55 strikeouts, 25 runs and players in the top 10 in the stats tables – plus great memories and friendships made.

The team

The team was:

Campbell Lazar
Casey Johnston
Matilde Crapanzano
Mili Youngman
Cara Edwards
Shinju Phalon
Georgia Wilson
Megan Longman
Alex McGregor
Amy Morris
Jessie Emery
Chelsie White
Cordelia Stevens.

The staff was:

Head Coach and Physio:  Jodie Rushin
Assistant Coaches:  Nadya Pavlova and Elysee La Porte
Pitching Coach:  Dawne Edwards
Team Manager:  Julie Spittle


Photos by David Morris

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