With the provincial government and teachers’ unions in a tense standoff for much of the school year, most high school athletes had to adjust to abbreviated seasons. One sport that eluded this grim fate is slo-pitch baseball, as players at Elmira District Secondary School are wrapping up successful seasons without gaps in their schedules
“This year was great,” said David Munroe, coach of the boys’ team. “We had a lot of return players, which was nice to have a veteran presence as leaders. We also had a few young guys who stepped up a lot, better than we actually thought they were going to be.”He added, “Pitching has been better this year, and we cut down on the amount of errors. Batting had never been an issue in previous years, it had always been defense – and this year they all picked up their defensive game and still hit really well.”
The EDSS boys’ team entered the June 4 WCSSA tournaments at RIM Park tied for second in the regular-season rankings. By the end of the day, the team went four-for-four, earning a place in the championships.
First, the Elmira boys squeaked out a narrow victory over Resurrection Catholic Secondary School, 14-3. Then, Elmira posted a decisive 15-6 victory against Grand River Collegiate Institute in the second round-robin tournament. In the quarter-finals, Elmira topped Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School by a score of 16-9, and came out the victors against Waterloo Collegiate Intitute, 13-9.
Thursday promised a tenser round as the boys faced off against Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School – the first-place team in the division. Playing W-O for the top position in the regular season, Elmira lost 14-13. Results from the game were not available prior to press time.
When asked if there was anyone on the boys’ team that could be singled out for praise, Munroe was hesitant. “It’s a tough call. Half the guys are on their last year, and they all deserve it. All those guys that came back and are going to be gone next year, they deserve the shout-out, because they’ve all been great for us.”
Meanwhile, the Elmira girls also performed commendably, finishing their regular season on Monday in third place in the standings (they won six regular season games and lost two).
“There were a whole bunch of new players this year, and we got a lot better as the season went on,” said coach Brian P. Carter, who also commended Jill Sebben (shortstop) and Taylor Holst (pitcher), “team leaders on and off the field.”
At the girls’ slo-pitch championships on Wednesday, the Elmira team won their first two games, against Grand River C.I. (7-5) and St. Benedict C.S.S. (9-5), to qualify for the quarter-finals. Alas, EDSS lost to St. Mary’s by a 7-2 score.
Win, lose, or draw, Munroe said the season represented the best spirit of the game.
“Softball is a lot of fun to coach, because it’s not like any other sport. The guys are super-relaxed – they show up and it’s not as intense as some of the other sports I coach. There are no practices, really: they just show up and have a good time, don’t get too tense, and it’s a real breath of fresh air.”
Carter agreed, adding, that slo-pitch “is competitive, but it’s also a little more relaxed than the other sports. It’s a good balance between the competitive spirit and a fun time in the sun with the rest of the team.”