The U12 girls 59ers fastball team had a rocky start at a softball tournament at Innisfail Friday, June 19 to 21.
“The tournament was a huge learning curve for the squirts team,” said coach Lucas Willier.
One of the challenges for players was getting used to nervousness and excitement at being at the tournament. Willier said at times like these, a game could go one way or the other and in this case the players shied away from the ball.
“These feelings overwhelmed the girls and they couldn’t find a way to bounce back,” said Willier.
Despite the challenges, Willier added that many of the players are in their first year of softball. In most league games if a game does not go well, the team has time to recoup and learn but during the tournament there was little time to overcome their emotions.
However, the season was a positive one for the squirts. Willier says they have a record of 6-1-1 scoring 108 runs.
“The core of the team is really strong with great catching and strong batting,” said Willier.
The Bandits had a strong weekend with two strong wins against two Sylvan Lake teams.
Their improvement is something Willier is proud of.
“One of the Sylvan Lake teams won a game early in the season against Ponoka. The improvement and skill level of this young team showed great potential,” he explained.
Willier says the Bandits played their way to a second place finish in the round robin against Innisfail, which placed them in the gold medal game against Delburn.
“The game was a hard fought battle but the strong pitching was too much for the Bandits as their early lead slipped away,” said Willier.
The Bandits finished the league 5-3-1 scoring 116 runs.
“This team will remain in the same age group next season and be a dominating force,” stated Willier.
Willier said he is proud to have been able to coach both teams this season and he suggests the biggest lessons learned were that of fair play and dedication to the game.
“The community support from the local Boston Pizza for the heart and hustle (award) was a nice touch and it displayed the support the community has for youth sports,” he added.
“Softball is a growing sport in Alberta and Ponoka is a strong hub for young talent to the sport at every age group,” he concluded.