Batter up: South Cariboo Minor Softball players back on the diamond

Laeken Allenby steps up to bat during one of the first softball practices of the season. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Laeken Allenby steps up to bat during one of the first softball practices of the season. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Donex Dugouts’ coach Ashley Keeping teaches Jackson Vahala the proper way to hold and swing his back during softball practice last week. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Donex Dugouts’ coach Ashley Keeping teaches Jackson Vahala the proper way to hold and swing his back during softball practice last week. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Kenny Malm keeps his eyes on the ball as he bats during softball practice two weeks ago. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Kenny Malm keeps his eyes on the ball as he bats during softball practice two weeks ago. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Grinning after successfully hitting the ball Kenny Malm runs the bases during practice last week. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Grinning after successfully hitting the ball Kenny Malm runs the bases during practice last week. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Aspen Nichol listens to her coach Ashley Keeping give her advice on how to hit a softball. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Aspen Nichol listens to her coach Ashley Keeping give her advice on how to hit a softball. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Tee still shaking from her swing, Aspen Nichol practices running for home base two weeks ago.(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Tee still shaking from her swing, Aspen Nichol practices running for home base two weeks ago.(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dezirae Popadinac practices her pitching during softball practice in 100 Mile House (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Cameron Dufresne’s teammates watch as he throws a softball to their coach, Dave Atkinson. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Cameron Dufresne’s teammates watch as he throws a softball to their coach, Dave Atkinson. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dezirae Popadinac catches the ball during softball practice. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dezirae Popadinac catches the ball during softball practice. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Shane Mikkelsen winds up to make a throw during softball practice last Wednesday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Shane Mikkelsen winds up to make a throw during softball practice last Wednesday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dave Atkinson (right) coaches his team on the proper way to throw a softball. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dave Atkinson (right) coaches his team on the proper way to throw a softball. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dave Atkinson’s team follows his lead as they practice throwing softballs at a fence. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dave Atkinson’s team follows his lead as they practice throwing softballs at a fence. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dave Atkinson watches as Ashlee Cameron practices her pitching. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dave Atkinson watches as Ashlee Cameron practices her pitching. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Cameron Dufresne winds up for a practice pitch. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Cameron Dufresne winds up for a practice pitch. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Avery Keeping tosses the ball back to his partner during softball practice last week. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Avery Keeping tosses the ball back to his partner during softball practice last week. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The opening pitch has been thrown for South Cariboo Minor Softball’s 2022 season.

Dozens of players came out two weeks ago for the first practices of the year. Eleven teams signed up with 120 players, up from 100 last year, said Softball president Pat Findlay. The vast majority of the youth are in the U7 and U9 groups, although there are also U11, U13 and U15 age groups.

Each age group will be playing twice a week from Monday to Thursday.

“We’re developing young new ballplayers and it’s shaping up really good,” said Findlay, who grew up playing ball in 100 Mile House.

“Our field allocation is just maxed out so if we keep on growing we’ll be looking to somehow get another ball field constructed in our town which is a great problem to have.”

Besides new players, there are also new coaches hitting the ballfield this year.

Donex Dugouts coach Ashley Keeping has joined the coaching roster for the first time, taking on a U9 team, which includes both her son and her nephew.

“I’ve never coached baseball before so it’s all sort of new to me. YouTube has been my friend,” Keeping said. “The softball association also gave me a manual to work with basic drills that I’m trying to go by.”

The Dugouts still need to learn how to properly run the bases and to make sure they’re always paying attention to the ball, she said. During their second practice, one of her players took a ball to the nose.

Once the teams have had a few weeks of practice and skill development, Findlay said they will start playing each other. Minor softball’s season ends in the last week of June, which will give them an eight-week season.

A few of the rep teams will keep practicing until July when they go to Merritt for the BC provincials, Findlay said, adding he intends to reach out to minor softball leagues in Clearwater and Barriere to organize some weekend games to help the teams prepare.

“I look forward to when the games start and kids can get a bit more competitive and have fun with it,” Keeping said. “I want the kids to learn good sportsmanship and come away with a few more skills and improvement in their games.”

hr width=“75%“>


patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House