O’LEARY – The P.E.I. Scotiabank Reds have a straight-forward theme in mind as they get set to represent P.E.I. at the Canadian national under-18 female fast pitch championship in Saskatoon, Sask.
“Staying calm and focused under pressure will be the theme at this year’s national (championship),” revealed Reds head coach Jeff Ellsworth.
For some members of the P.E.I. team, this will be their third national championship tournament in as many years. They leave Sunday and play their first two round-robin games on Monday against teams from Ontario and Manitoba. A total of 22 teams are taking part.
“Last year, our goal was to make the top-ranked division,” Ellsworth said of the Reds’ play in the under-16 national tournament hosted in O’Leary. “This year, moving up a division, we want to be realistic with our goal-setting, so we want to repeat last year’s performance by making it to the top playoff round and then winning more games than last year.”
The Reds have only four returning players from last year’s under-18 team, and 12 members of the team are new to the division.
“We may be young, but we can play,” insisted Ellsworth. He suggested the biggest part in bringing a player’s game to the next level is learning to be in total control, and knowing how to react to the game’s pressures.
“This is a special organization to be part of,” Ellsworth commented. “Each and every player on the team has bought into the team philosophy, and is pulling the rope in the same direction. They are focused and prepared to represent P.E.I. the best they can in the sport they love the most.”
The Reds will play a team from Quebec on Tuesday, Aug. 5, and finish their round-robin schedule on Wednesday, Aug. 6, against a team from British Columbia. The playoffs will follow, with the Canadian champion being crowned on Sunday, Aug. 10.