O’LEARY – The 2014 fastball season for the Scotia Bank Reds’ under-18 team will get underway this weekend.
© Submitted photo
Emily Cairns of the Scotia Bank Reds’ under-18 team practises her bunting during a recent team practice. The catcher is Sarah Woodside.
The Reds will travel to Moncton, N.B., to participate in the annual Henry Kelly Memorial fastball tournament. This event will feature over 60 teams in all divisions.
The Reds will get underway on Saturday at 9 a.m., when they face the Sussex Storm. Later that afternoon, the Reds will battle Mount Uniake at 3 p.m., followed by an evening tilt with Tracadie.
“We are expecting big things from this squad,” said Reds head coach Jeff Ellsworth. “We have a great team again this season.
“We have branded a Reds’ name in P.E.I. girls fast pitch that is recognized across the country after a sixth-place finish at the Canadian nationals in O’Leary. The team will once again be travelling to nationals, with this year’s event being in Saskatoon, Sask.
“We turned a lot of heads last season, and we will be once again trying to improve on our 2013 season.”
Ellsworth acknowledges a lot of hard work is ahead for the team, which is comprised of players from across P.E.I.
“Our squad consists of great talent from tip to tip with a great mixture of veterans at the under-18 level and new to the under-18 loop from the under-16 division one year ago,” said Ellsworth.
Returning players this year include Montague native Emily Cairns, Kildare’s Katie Rayner, Tyne Valley’s Rebecca Palmer and Charlottetown’s Kailey Koughan.
“These four athletes had great rookie seasons last year with the Island Bandits, and will be leaned on heavy in 2014,” said Ellsworth.
“We are expecting big things from this squad. We have a great team again this season. We have branded a Reds’ name in P.E.I. girls fast pitch that is recognized across the country after a sixth-place finish at the Canadian nationals in O’Leary. The team will once again be travelling to nationals, with this year’s event being in Saskatoon, Sask. We turned a lot of heads last season, and we will be once again trying to improve on our 2013 season.” Reds head coach Jeff Ellsworth
Graduating from the under-16 ranks are Little Pond native Brailyne Jenkins; Murray River’s Hope Higginbotham; Charlottetown’s Laura Ready, Jada Yeo, Alyssa Fleming and Jordan Havenga; Tignish’s Abbie Morrissey; Elmsdale’s Heidi Rennie; Bloomfield’s Kaylan Ellsworth, and O’Leary’s Jacinda Costello, Clara Jane Wood and Sarah Woodside.
Lori Ellsworth and Curt Duckworth are assistant coaches, and Jordan Ellis is the team’s new manager.
“The entire management team is very excited to see where we can take this year’s team,” said Jeff Ellsworth. “The entire squad wants to learn and improve, and over the last two years the Scotia Bank Reds have taken steps in the right direction.
“The goal of this year’s squad is to improve on the little plays that win big games (ball sense). We worked really hard with improving the girls’ bat speed and the ability to hit the ball with power so this year we will continue to grow on that, but adding the defence element with systems and plays.”
Following this weekend’s tournament, the Reds will be hosting the under-21 provincial team in an exhibition doubleheader in O’Leary on Monday, May 19. Game times at Ellis Field in O’Leary are 2 and 4 p.m.