The end result was great for the local club, but the girls certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves.
Ponoka’s U16 girls softball squad played host to Bentley May 3 in the team’s home opener and needed a rally in their final at-bat to earn an 11-10 walk-off victory.
Head coach Rob Clelland was pleased with the turnaround the girls made in the late innings, but admitted the team wasn’t as sharp early as they needed to be.
“It was ugly at times, but the girls stayed with it and battled through it,” he said.
“So, as a coach, that’s all I could ask for. The girls have played well in our first two games and are still shaking the rust off as the late start to spring is still showing.”
Clelland noted the win improved the club’s record to a win and a loss, after the girls fell 11-9 in Sylvan Lake May 1 to open the season.
“The girls are coming together more and getting back into things a little bit more each time they hit the field. And for me, that is huge,” he added.
Meanwhile, the big focus for the coaching staff this year is to get the girls to think on their feet about how to play and react in various situations.
“Naturally, skill development is always important, but I think knowing what to do in different situations when the ball is hit to is just as important,” said Clelland, who is in his first year at this level.
“I really want the girls to focus on the mental aspect of the game, being able to work through adversity and stay mentally strong in all situations.”
The U16s are back on their home turf tomorrow night (May 10) with the first pitch at 6:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the U14 squad had their first home game last night (May 8, result unavailable) with the rest of the Ponoka Minor Ball softball clubs waiting to hit the field next week.