The Penticton Power U18 B fastpitch team is looking for their bats to come alive at provincials this weekend in Nanaimo.
“Pitching and defence win games and our pitching and defence is good,” said Power coach Jeff Korven. “Where we struggle a bit is on hitting.”
Korven said with seven girls on the squad that have experience playing at provincials, mechanics in the batters’ box are there.
“We haven’t had a big outburst in hitting, but this is what happened last year around this time. We really started clicking and hitting the ball. The mechanics on all my girls are good they just got to bring it to the plate,” he said.
The Power will face 16 other clubs all vying for first or second place position at provincials to earn a berth to the Western Canadians, held in Lloyminster, Sask. from Aug. 1 to 3.
Only four members of the Power core will be aging out of play next season, but they are players Korven has leaned on over the years and will continue to at provincials. This includes Rebecca Livesey (shortstop), Emma Reiter (catcher), Nikita Logie (outfielder) and Amy Woodhouse.
“Emma and Rebecca have been leaders on this team for a long time. They are the ones that keep the team together if someone is getting emotional or struggling. Those girls are the first to grab them and get them back into the game,” said Korven.
Joining the team from provincials will be three players from the Surrey Fleetwood Force. The Power lost some of their bullpen for provincials due to injuries and prior commitments, he hopes the Force players will bolster their pitching staff.
“I know all of the 16 teams that are going to provincials and I think we should finish middle of the pack, if not better. It says a lot about our program considering the sheer number of players that we have here compared to bigger cities,” said Korven.
The coach hopes younger fastpitch players, and those who are thinking about playing next season for the first time, will look to his U18 team as role models as to what can be accomplished. Korven said over the years he has sent about seven Penticton minor softball players to the U.S. on full or partial scholarships.
“Absolutely these girls are role models,” said Korven. “Four players on this team will be coaching at our clinic to inspire the younger kids. Making it to provincials, and doing their best, I hope girls in this community see what can be accomplished and give the sport a try.”