The Calgary West Valley High School U19 fastball team entered the provincials as the underdog and came home the 2022 U19 D Division provincial softball champions. 

It was the first provincial championship for Cochrane fastball pitcher Abby Maillot, 18, who joined the team this season after pitching in Cochrane since about age nine.

Maillot says they came into the tournament as underdogs. They were ranked second in Calgary and third in the tournament that was hosted by Leduc, July 8 to 10.

"After the round robin, we pulled off a pretty big upset in the semifinals to make the finals. Even winning the finals was a big upset because that team had beat us by a lot the last time we played them."

West Valley beat the Airdrie Angels in the semifinals and swept past the Sylvan Lake Storm to claim the title. Maillot pitched in all but one of the games.

She's enjoyed playing for West Valley.

"They presented me an opportunity in the winter, and I didn't know what level it would be at at the time, It was a really good group of people. We had chemistry on the field, and we all got along off the field. It was a team you were excited to see every time you went out to play."

At a young age in Cochrane, she quickly discovered windmill pitching was in her future.

"My first game I went in I really didn't even understand what was happening yet, and I threw my first strikeout. I remember everyone was cheering, and it was the last out of the inning. That's when I realized what I wanted to be."

Over the years, she's won three silver medals with Cochrane teams and some gold medals subbing for other teams.

In addition to playing, she's also been helping to mentor budding pitchers in Cochrane since she was 15.

"It's been cool because I started coaching them when they were 7,8 and 9, and now they're all 13 and you can really start to see them improve."

She says she may have helped, but the girls are all naturally talented and just needed a few tips.

"It's honestly been such a great thing. It's been such a privilege to work with these girls."

With one season left of eligibility in U19 ball, she's not entirely sure where she'll be playing but hasn't ruled out returning to the West Valley team.

"I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do next year, but I'm sure I'll find a team to play with."

U10 West Valley softball teamThe U19 West Valley High School softball team displays their provincial banner after upsetting Sylvan Lake in the final.