The Parksville Rage are gearing up for fall ball, and what better way to get into the groove then host the inaugural UBC Softball Camp.
Leading the fun informative camp, Monday to Thursday at Springwood Park, was Nichole Day, 23, a standout pitcher for five years with the Thunderbirds who just graduated with a kinesiology degree.
Day, who threw the Thunderbird’s first ever no-hitter in 2012 and earned second Team All-Conference honours this past season, said “we decided to come to Parksville to put on our first ever camp because I heard the interest here is really good. It’s really exciting for us to come to camp and to share our knowledge, share what we’ve learned with other girls, and to hopefully spark an interest in softball.”
Sixteen local girls aged 10-17 turned out for the camp, “which is great,” she said.
Softball she said “is big on the Mainland and it’s definitely growing here.”
SFU’s softball program just finished it’s fourth year.
Helping run the camp were three other current SFU players, which made for plenty of one-on-one instruction.
“My main goal is for the girls to have fun, and if they can learn anything, and be able to use that in their play, that would be awesome,” Day surmised. “That’s basically the biggest goal.”
Another element of the camp is reminding the up and comers that “there are a lot of opportunities out there. There’s so many scholarships in the U.S. and now with UBC and Douglas College and SFU with programs. There’s just so many opportunities out there they should stick with it for sure.”
In the mix and in her element was Oceanside player Tyra McNichol who summed it up best: “I love this camp.”
Looking ahead, Ian Kellow, head coach of the U12 Rage girls softball team, said the camp served as a great kickstart to the local club’s first ever fall ball program which will see girls aged 10-14 invited to practice up at Springwood Park from 3-5 p.m. every Sunday starting Sept. 8 through to mid-November.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Kellow, who extends an open invitation to any local girls interested in trying the sport.
As for the UBC camp, Kellow makes the point “it’s a good learning experience for the girls. They were pretty stoked. It gives them insight and mentors to look up to and shows they can go to university and play ball at a high level. I mean we can get a bunch of grizzled old guys out to run a camp but it’s not the same.”
For more information on the fall ball programs go to oceansidesoftball.ca.