Participants at the second annual BC High Performance ID Softball Camp had players pushing their level of skills way up. — Karly Blats photo

Players inspired by B.C. softball camp in Nanoose Bay

Organizer impressed with how players elevated their game

When you have Canada’s national players showing you how it’s done, it can inspire you to elevate your game.

Ian Kellow said that’s what happened at the B.C. High Performance ID Softball Camp that was held recently at Arbutus Meadows in Nanoose Bay.

The older participants, Kellow pointed out, were split into three squads and teamed up with national players.

“The level of softball on that day went up to the roof,” said Kellow, who is one of the coaches of Oceanside Minor Softball Association, which staged the annual event. “The kids were being pushed at a higher level because they were lining up beside the best players in the country. They basically had to step it up.”

The second annual camp, which had more than 100 participants from all over Vancouver Island and across the province, featured Canada’s national head coach Mark Smith, along with other national coaches Rob Guenter, Dave Paetkau, Mel Basilio and Lauren Tashman. Also helping out were national players Larissa Franklin, Jenny Gilbert, Emma Entzminger, Kelsey Jenkins, Sara Groenewegen and Holly Speers.

“When you have good coaches and players, good things happen,” said Kellow. “It was just cool to watch. The biggest thing is the role models and the kids pushing each other.”

RELATED: Olympic softball qualifier to be held in BC

The camp attracted some collegiate head coaches, including Douglas College Royals’ Jenn McKellar, SAIT Trojans’ George Edwards and UBC Okanagan’s Joni Frei. They came to introduce their respective softball programs to potential players.

“We’re a two-year program out of New Westminster and so we came to speak with the girls, first just to kind of showcase the program, what is Douglas and have you heard of it and what level we play,” McKellar explained. “We were hoping to recruit some players or meet some players who are interested in the program and kind of a first opportunity of the year to see them out in the game because it’s been winter. This is really my first opportunity to get out and see them play and start the process of recruiting them from Grade 12 players to Grade 11, and 10. They’d be from all over the province. “

This is McKellar’s first time to be at the camp, which is in its second year. She found the atmosphere totally different from her own winter ID camp that they held at Douglas College.

“When I was invited to come to something like this I really learned how beneficial it can be and in a more relaxed setting they are showing you different skills than when you see them in a high pressure situation so having both is a really nice opportunity to come and find some players maybe you didn’t hear about before.”

Kellow said a lot of the girls at the camp are already destined to play collegiate and university softball. He is confident that players from Parksville Qualicum Beach and area will be recruited.

• The Parksville Rage softball season has started. They played their first games on the road against Langford Lightning of Victoria and opened with back-to-back wins.

The Rage will play their first home game, a doubleheader against the Lightning, at the Community Park, April 6 at noon and at 2 p.m.

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• To encourage more players to come and try the game of softball, the Oceanside Minor Sotball Association is hosting a Learn To Play game on April 7 at the Parksville Community fields.

The event, which takes place at 10 a.m., is open to all female players ages five and up. It’s free of charge. Participants will also be treated to a free hot dog lunch.

For more information, contact Sarah at 250-228-4007 or Kris at 250-927-1806.

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