Some say that not all victories are about fame, money, or a shot for that big golden cup; more so, it’s about team spirit and having fun — and if anyone noticed the smiles and laughter coming from the Sooke Blue Sox’ U14 girls box last Thursday, they’d certainly believe it.
It was a close game no doubt, ending with a score of 13-15 for Sooke by the fifth inning. This year’s Sox faced off for their first time against Saanich Extreme’s girls, who were admittedly ferocious in their mannerisms the entire game.
Not that our girls let up either; many excellent pitches and some good batting kept Saanich on their tippy toes — a feat which head coach Kevin Berger says is a result of one important factor: they genuinely enjoy playing fastball.
“The main thing is that we’re having fun, and that’s what it’s all about; if we’re not having fun, then we’re doing something wrong,” Berger said, adding that the current team is still in its learning stages. “It’s all development right now; we got a couple of older girls that have played ball for a few years, as well as a lot of new players. Right now is all about getting them out there and into the game.”
Berger says it’s at this stage of the game that the play level really steps up to the next – but since the Sox are already facing battle-hardened teams, he noted that the practice is invaluable.
He added that a lot of the rival teams’ girls are in their second year in this level of fastball — a big challenge for any new team.
“It’s a big jump; it’s a fast-paced game, so a lot of these girls have been used to where the pitchers aren’t really pitching, they’re getting it over, and a lot of walks, and not really playing the game,” Berger said, adding that whereas this year, things are a little tougher. “You gotta know what’s going on, like where you’re throwing the ball, and how you’re pitching. It’s a lotta fun – the girls are having a great time with it.”
So far the Sooke girls played two back-to-back tournaments and up to three games a day on average, so Berger said he’s feeling pretty good about the next few coming up.
“This is a good year, we got a lot of girls coming up, and hopefully if they stay together, we can take them pretty far in the game,” he said.
The Blue Sox are due to return in Sooke for a tournament on May 30 — and though the game ended in Saanich’s favour this time, the girls undoubtedly left their mark that they’ll be back stronger and harder next time.