A pair of local U12 girls fastpitch teams would like nothing better than to win a provincial title on their home soil this weekend.
The Langley 2000 Xtreme and 2001 Xtreme are competing in the provincial squirt B fastpitch championships, and neither team will have to travel very far to the tournament. Games are at Noel Booth Park this Friday to Sunday (July 13-15).
Sixteen teams from eight districts will be battling to get to Sunday's championship game.
Teams are coming from Vancouver Island, the B.C. Interior, and from across the Lower Mainland.
The 2000 Xtreme qualified as the host team.
Langley's 2001 squad earned its spot by placing second behind Chilliwack in a district qualifier.
The tournament consists of a fourgame round robin with the top eight teams advancing to a double knockout playoff.
Games will be played Friday at 9 and 11 a.m., and 1 and 3 p.m.
Opening ceremonies are at 5: 15 p.m. Friday with Fort LangleyAldergrove MLA Rich Coleman scheduled to throw out the opening pitch.
On Saturday, games will be played at 8: 30 and 10: 30 a.m., 12: 30 p.m., and 2: 30 p.m.
Double knockout games are slated for 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
The tournament culminates with the provincial title game at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Games cover seven innings or 90 minutes.
Langley Xtreme 2000 assistant coach Dave Duddy said his team has set the bar high.
"I expect to be a good host, for one, and to wind up in the finals," Duddy said.
"That's a team goal that the girls set in January. The girls said their goal is to get to provincials. They made it through the tournaments, through the interlock, and now they're on to provincials. They know that this is their Super Bowl. This is their pinnacle for their age group."
Duddy said it gets "harder and harder every year" to qualify for a B.C. championship tournament.
Every tournament has a different complexion, Duddy said, and the provincial championships is no different.
"We've played teams where we've beaten them and they've beaten us," he said. "All the teams are competitive. It just depends on who shows up and how they are going to play."
Parity rules, Duddy said: "You look at the wins and losses of all the teams through the season and there's only one team that's gone through the interlock undefeated and that's North Vancouver.
But we haven't played them, this year."
North Langley Softball president and Xtreme 2001 coach Robert French said the provincials will be a great learning experience for his young team.
"I don't anticipate getting into the finals but for sure there's going to be a great learning curve," French said, "and it sets up next year, which is what I think we're all looking forward to: seeing how we will perform next year, having been through the process."
This is the second consecutive year Langley has hosted this tournament. French said it's great for the community, adding there are lots of other activities outside of ball.
"I watched the provincials that we held here, last year, as well, and it's amazing what the squirt players can do at this level," French said.