Liners coming together as championship season approaches

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June 16, 2016 12:00 AM

Stephanie Fischer, Caitlyn DeJong, Kiana Walker and Lauren Pollard were all selected to the U16 All-Star game representing the Lloydminster Liners softball team.

When the two Lloydminster softball associations joined together to form the Lloydminster Liners, it was assumed there would be some growing pains in the organization, as players and coaches got acquainted with each other, despite the season before being on opposite sides of the field.
The Lloydminster Liners U16 A team, however, came together quickly and finished the softball regular season in the Girls Prairie League (GPLS) in second place with a 10-5 record, 3.5 games back of the Red Deer Rage who finished at 13-1.
Lloydminster took three of four games over the final weekend, which was hosted in Lloydminster, defeating the Sherwood Park Belles twice, 14-2 and 6-3 and the St. Albert Angels 11-0, losing only to the Calgary Adrenaline 9-6.
“I was really happy with the way the girls gelled at the beginning of the season,” said U16 Liners head coach Tracy Blanchard.
“When the two organizations decided to merge, it’s kind of hard to know how everyone is going to get along after being against each other for a few years, but I was just really happy they just jumped in and formed a unified team.”
So far the season has exceeded Blanchard’s expectations, but now the season turns towards championships, as the GPLS playoffs are in two weeks in Sherwood Park, followed by provincials in July which will be played in Calgary, followed by the Canadian Championships in Montreal in August.
Lloydminster will be at all three championships and will meet some of their toughest competition all season over the next two months of softball. It will push the limits of the newly formed bonds between the girls, who so far have only 15 games of experience with each other.
However, Blanchard is confident that if they stick to their game and keep together, championships could fall their way.
“Hopefully we can just maintain all the little technical things that we’ve got,” said Blanchard.
“Now it is about getting some of our key players who haven’t had a lot of time with more time and hopefully they will be able to contribute and everyone will be able to get more playing time as a team. You are only as strong as your weakest link, so we need the opportunity to play everybody.”
Some of those key players include Stephanie Fischer, Caitlyn DeJong, Kiana Walker and Lauren Pollard, who were all selected to the Lawrick Division All-Star team and played in the all-star game on Saturday night.
Lloydminster was one of the most heavily represented teams at the all-star game, with their players being selected by other coaches, showing that the Liners are full of exceptionally talented players and other coaches recognize that ability.
“It’s always an honour to have good representation from your team,” said Blanchard.
“It’s nice to see we have that respect.”

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