Macey Hickes and Erica Jordan grew up on the same street in Winnipeg.
When Jordan moved to Nova Scotia - a lightweight on the national women's fast pitch scene - the two former friends and teammates split, and didn't think they'd ever share the same diamond again.
Yesterday they did, and the miles now between them proved a pretty apt metaphor for the two provincial programs. Manitoba won the game 12-1 in five innings, a tune-up of sorts for the Angels and a learning experience for the Cole Harbour Comets.
"It was good to see her again, it's been four years," said Hickes, a catcher who tripled and had an RBI in the contest. "It was really fun to play against her. (Fast pitch) is a longer season in Manitoba, but they gave us good competition."
It was the first time the 17-year-old Hickes has seen a Nova Scotia team in her career. The gap in talent and experience was pretty obvious early on, when Comets ace Holly Denny limited the damage to one run, then yielded five in the second. Adrianna Boychuck had a pair of hits for the Angels, who split the pitching duties between Mandy Greenberg and Sarah Shotton.
"We watched (Cole Harbour) play the night before, so I think that gave us a bit of an advantage," said Angels coach Jack Brown. "We were able to hit their pitcher well, and she throws real hard. A couple of early bunts helped us get a good lead, and that helped."
While Manitoba is 2-1, Nova Scotia dropped to 0-2. Jordan said the lopsided loss wasn't unexpected, given her team's inexperience.
"Not even close," she said when asked if softball was as popular in her new home of Lawrencetown. "We're the underdogs. We're just focused on keeping the score close. If we try our best, that's the most important thing.
"I was really happy to see Macey. Her dad coached me softball for four or five years, and we still keep in touch when we have time. It's great to see her, and I was excited when she told me (the Angels) had qualified."
Nova Scotia pitcher Holly Denny, who travels from Whycogomah in Cape Breton to play with the Comets, pitched the five innings and suffered the loss. The power pitcher struggled with her command at times and suffered a few hard knocks, but showed poise in working out of a jam in the fifth inning to end the game. She also had Nova Scotia's only RBI at the plate.