The sport of softball is back on solid footing in these parts thanks in large part to a new crop of young players who have embraced the learning curve.
The Parksville Rage girls softball club boast two teams this year — a Bantam team and a Squirt team.
Squirt coach Kevin Spicer, a teacher at Kwalikum Secondary School, has two daughters playing — his oldest, Gabrielle, is on the Bantam team, and his youngest Meriana, plays for the Squirts.
In action against Ladysmith last Tuesday up at Springwood Park, Meriana started the game on the hill for the Rage and struck out the first six batters she faced to pace her team to a 22-13 win.
“They’re doing really well considering we have 10 players this year new to softball,” Spicer said of his squad, comprised of 11 and 12-year-olds.
IN OTHER ACTION, the older Rage were in Port Alberni over the weekend for the annual 12-team Bantam Blast softball tournament.
Coached by longtime local coaches Cheryl McNichol and Greg Roy, the Bantam Rage have been together for a few years “and the team is competing well in their league.”
At the Bantam Blast, which featured seven teams in the B division and five teams including the Rage in the C, Parksville went 2-2 in pool play and lost a nail-biter 13-12 to their rivals,the Cedar Heat, in the bronze medal game.
“It was a really good game,” said Spicer, who made the trip up to Port Sunday to cheer the team on.
“Both teams were playing smart and hitting the ball well; the Cedar team ended the game with a double play.”
Earning Player of the Game props on the weekend were Gabrielle for her defensive play and Tyra McNichol for her hitting and pitching
The Rage are halfway through their regular season as part of the seven-team Bantam House League made up of teams from Parksville and Nanaimo.
But it’s the addition of the Squirt team that bodes well for the future as word spreads about the game.
“It’s growing for sure,” he said of the numbers locally, adding, “many of the girls joined this year and did not know their was girls softball in the area, which is a shame as who knows how many other girls and families do not know there is a league for them,” said coach Kevin, adding, “it’s a lot of fun … my team is really improving and we have set a goal to win the Islands in July in Victoria.”
The Bantams were back in action on Sunday and on Thursday the Rage host a big game against a rep team from Nanaimo.