A year ago, the Moose Jaw Heat were a win away from the Senior C women's provincial fastball title.
Senior Women's Fastball
They failed to make the playoffs at this year's edition this past weekend, but weren't as far off as their 1-3 record may show.
"It was good competition and I thought we were right there in each game. I felt like we had a shot at winning almost every game," said Kelly Binner from the Heat. "We had a few defensive miscues that the other teams capitalized on and scored some runs."
The Heat went into their final game of the round robin at the Softball Saskatchewan Senior C Women's provincial championships in Saskatoon needing a win to advance to the semifinals, but weren't able to pull it out
"We had a long Saturday with three games spaced out throughout the day. By the end of the day when we needed a win we just ran out gas," said Binner.
The Heat opened with a narrow loss to the Saskatoon Sr. Eclipse Friday. Their first game Saturday ended up being the pivotal match of the weekend as they lost 10-8 to the Saskatoon Mystics.
"We lost a heartbreaker," said Binner. "We spotted them a nine-run lead and just about pulled it out, but for one base-running error and one bad umpire call we would have tied it up. That was a hard one to lose."
They rebounded with a 17-10 win over the Saskatoon Grand Aces to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"We jumped out to a real big lead and they ended up clawing their way back. We ended up finishing it in the the sixth inning," said Binner after the Heat were seven-up after five innings.
They needed to beat the Saskatoon Connextion to advent to the playoffs and ended up being on the wrong end of a mercy-rule loss themselves.
After advancing to the final a year ago, it was a disappointing finish, but Binner felt they put together a pretty good weekend of ball on the whole.
"We had a great run, which kind of set the expectation for this year. Especially since it was a lot of the same teams this year," she said.
"I'm still so proud of the girls. Denise (Burns) and I both said that. Especially after that second game where we fought our way back. We could have folded the tent and we didn't. We kept working and kept fighting. I'm proud of everything they did this weekend."
The Heat added Jasmine Jackman and Keri Merkel from the Colts and Penny Barker from the Slammers to strengthen their roster.
"They helped us out tremendously and they played fantastic, but maybe having a few extra players on the diamond that we're not used to affected us a little," said Binner who ultimately felt that adding the trio was the right decision and improved their team. "They're smart ball players and it was a good move and the smart move to pick them up."
In the Moose Jaw Senior Women's Fastball League, the Heat have been able to keep the nucleus of their team together and Binner said that has made a huge difference to their fortunes so far this season.
"We've fared better this year than we ever had and we seem to be gelling as a team," said Binner.
The local teams will conclude their regular season schedule tonight, with the best-of-three semifinal series beginning next week.