The B.C. Girls Provincial Softball Championships get into full swing today, and after a long drought Prince Rupert will be represented with their very own contingent of athletes.
Six girls from Prince Rupert will be part of the regional Northwest Stealers team, which also includes four girls from Terrace and two girls from Kitimat. They’ll be competing in the U-16 C division provincial tournament, taking place in Quesnel from July 12-14.
The achievement is a fairly remarkable one, considering that the sport only returned to Prince Rupert in organized form in 2016.
“They went from being not able to throw or catch a ball all the way to the point now where they understand the game, know the rules, and make the different plays,” Dan Lorette, head coach of the team, said.
“Softball is a thinking sport so you have to know a couple steps in advance what you’re going to do and what’s happening on the field. They’ve adapted very well to learning the schematics of what needs to happen next, what just happened, and what the next play is going to be,” Lorette explained. “They’ve learned quickly; the learning curve has been steep for a lot of them, but we’re very proud of how quickly everyone has adapted to it and how quickly everyone has picked things up.”
|The Prince Rupert Minor Softball won the 2018 Softball BC Association of the Year award on Oct. 20, 2018. (Photo submitted by Ralph Weick)|
Softball is now in its fourth season in Prince Rupert, and since its return from a lengthy absence has featured co-ed teams every season. With the number of girls participating going up, talk of an all girls team for provincials began to brew.
Due to competing commitments the number of girls available for this weekend’s tournament maxed out at six. Not to be deterred, Lorette and others looked to their neighbors to fill out the squad. Interest from athletes in Terrace and Kitimat was enough to make sure the Northwest had a full team.
The girls have now been practicing together for two and a half months, competing against other co-ed teams in Prince Rupert and Terrace.
“The girls have been gelling very well. It took a little while for them to get used to each other, but they’re buddying around now,” Lorette said.
“Now that they’re playing together they’re feeding off each other, they’re encouraging each other, they’re having fun together. All that stuff is what we were after from the start.”
The tournament will consist of a round robin format running through Friday and Saturday, with playoffs starting on Saturday night and the championship games being played on Sunday. Friday night will also feature a skills competition.
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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