1972-1973 Browne Motors Dusters Women’s Softball Team – Team
Women’s softball in Prince Albert was established as a power house in the 1960’s with the Key Realettes. Early in the 1970’s the sponsorship changed, but the will to win was transferred to the Browne Motors Dusters who won the Saskatchewan Commercial Women’s softball championships in 1972 and 1973. The Dusters, coached by Audrey Sandbeck and Roy Martin, did not compete in a league during this time relying on tournaments and exhibition games to prepare them for Provincials.
In 1972 the host Dusters had to win the Saskatchewan title the hard way, losing their first game to the Saskatoon Steelers but fought through the B side and defeated the Steelers twice to win the crown. They won B side games 4-3 over Swift Current, then blasted the Regina Aces 26-6 in the B final to get another crack at the Steelers whom they would have to beat twice.
The Dusters prevailed 4-2 and 605 over the Steelers in the A-B final to capture the Saskatchewan crown. Ida Birkland was the work horse for the Dusters starting every game of the Provincials and was the winning pitcher in both final games. 14 year-old Brenda Basaraba was the closer in the final game limiting Saskatoon to just 2 hits and no runs in the final 2 innings. Birkland was also the hitting star in the final with a triple and game winning solo home run in the 6th.
In 1973 with 5 new faces in their lineup the Dusters did not miss a beat winning the 8 team Provincial Final in Saskatoon, this time going undefeated. It was not an easy road to their second title through as the Dusters had to go to extra innings in their first two games to beat Moose Jaw 7-5 and the Saskatoon Steelers 7-6. Their only easy game was in the A final when they hammered the Regina Acres 16-5.
The 1973 Championship game pitted the Dusters against the Regina Gamblers. The Gamblers took the early lead in the 2nd inning on PA’s only error of the contest. In the 5th Bonnie Kutzan and Brenda Basaraba led off with singles. Ellen Grewcock, who came through with clutch hits throughout the tournament singled to tie the game followed by a double from Lois Gruending to score the game and championship winning run.