With insufficient funds, the under-14 girls’ minor softball team is cancelling on a tournament in Winnipeg next month, but the team is pushing hard for next year’s season with 17 girls registered and fundraising efforts underway.
“We’re still fundraising, still working toward the next championships,” said Ashley McKay, the girls’ coach who said she has been selling food at the wharf, “every weekend, just to make a bit to get us started.”
McKay said about half the team’s little less than 20 players have been coming out to practices recently. McKay credits the summer with low attendance, as many families are out of town for vacations, but was happy to help make up the numbers by combining practices with the minor boy’s under-14 team for the time being.
“It’s a bigger challenge practising with boys,” said player Chandelle Leonard. “It’s more fun, you can do more stuff like boys against girls.”
Leonard also said that although she was disappointed to not be headed to Winnipeg for the U14 Western Canadian Championships, it may have been for the best.
“It’s kind of good because no one is really ready to go,” she said. “We should just do a thing in Hay River instead.”
McKay agreed, adding that another year would help the team get more experience and raise more money. The goal, she said, is to raise enough to cover all the expenses for travel to the championships.
“It was a lot to ask this year,” she said. “And all three teams need new jerseys.”
There are now two boys’ minor ball teams – under 14 and under 16 – and one under-14 girls’ team. While McKay said a company had stepped forward to sponsor jerseys for one, she could hardly accept and leave the other two without.
But despite some aspects of organization lagging, McKay said practices are going well.
“Usually we split them up into four groups and run through different drills. It’s been great to have the boys out with us, because we can do more and play more games.”
Typically, Tuesdays are for drills while Thursday are reserved for games.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” said McKay. “The players are enjoying it and improving every week, and that’s great to see. We’ve had some setbacks this year, but we’ll push on for next year.”