Softball action in full swing

By Jamie Harkins

March 23, 2017 12:00 AM

HERE'S THE PITCH Brielle Savage delivers a pitch during a Lloydminster Liners practice at the Servus Sports Centre on Sunday. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

Lloydminster Amateur Softball Association players and coaches celebrated the first day of spring and another step towards on-field action this week.
Sadie Rusteika, a shortstop and second baseman with the under-18 Lloydminster Liners, said they’ve already held tryouts, formed a roster and even suited up for a few games last month in San Diego. She said they’ll head back to the United States next month for a tournament in Seattle before their regular season in Girls Prairie League Softball (GPLS) starts in May.
“It’s good preparation for us,” added U18 Liners pitcher Lauren Pollard. “Their (skill) level compared to our level is much higher, so if we start playing a much higher level of softball then we can bring it back to Canada.”
Pre-season preparation has not been confined to the U18 club as players and coaches from the majority of the Lloydminster Amateur Softball Association teams have been spending the cold winter months indoors at the Servus Sports Centre working on pitching, hitting and fielding fundamentals.
“Every Sunday we do a winter camp and on Wednesdays we’ve been doing a pitching camp for the girls,” said U12 A Liners head coach Dustin Orr. “The (participation) numbers have been great. The girls are working hard and have been improving every week.”
Orr said the hope is the U12 girls can field two A teams and a B squad this season with each starting game action mid-May in the GPLS. He said the season is short and daunting with the kids playing a lot of softball before the summer break, so the focus all winter has been to make sure they’re ready.
“The girls pitch,” he said. “We work on the mechanics of fly balls and ground balls. It’s a lot of hitting from the tee and batting cage and live pitching with the battling cage just to keep the girls warm all (year) so we don’t have to knock as much rust off come the regular season.”
The U18 Liners will close the Lloydminster Amateur Softball Association season by hosting the Women’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championships from July 31 to Aug. 6. Up to 25 of the top U18 softball teams from across the nation are expected in Lloydminster for the tournament.
“We finished 10th last year (at nationals) so we did better than expected, but we’re hoping to do better this year” said Rusteika. “It’s a good learning experience, so hopefully we play well and get good support.”

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