The spring season is off to a winning start for the Elmira District Secondary School’s boys’ slo-pitch team.
The squad faced off against Galt Collegiate at the Lions Optimist Park in Kitchener on Tuesday afternoon, swinging their way to an 8-6 victory. EDSS won it all a couple of years ago, and came close the last two years.
Head coach Alex Derma says the boys have a big reputation to live up to this year.
“Last year, we lost in the finals, so we have had some pretty good years in the past. We have made it to the finals for the past four years,” he said ahead of the team’s first game on Tuesday afternoon. “We lost the semis, won the championship, lost in the finals and lost in the finals. We have had a pretty good run, so we are expecting some pretty big things for the team.”
The Lancers are made up of a lot of younger players this year, says Derma. However, he believes the lineup is a strong one.
“We did lose a lot of guys from last year. We have a lot of younger guys, but we also have a lot of athletes on our team. We had 50 guys turn out for tryouts for the team, which is a lot of guys for a high school slo-pitch team. We are looking forward to seeing what they can do,” he said. “There are going to be a bit of growing pains to get the young guys caught up to the game of slo-pitch and to get into the gel of the team. We are going to take a little bit of time for that, but at the end of the day, we have a bunch of athletes on the team.”
Their goal is to make it as far as they did last year, when the boys’ team lost in the finals, but Derma says they would be happy with a semi-final showing.“Overall, I would say, it depends on who you run into along the way and in the championship games, but I’d say that at least semi-finals is our goal, and then from there, it is whichever team is hot and winning those final games. Then go from there,” he said.
Although quite a few players left the team after graduating, Derma mentioned a few names that would be important to the team’s efforts this season.
“Jeremy Schouppe is one. He plays shortstop for us. Connor Bauman is another one. He is in his last year of high school and he is a third baseman. Colin Wideman is our pitcher. He has been getting better each year and he works hard and probably our captain this year. Those are the big guys that are back for this year,” he said.
The team hits the field every Tuesday until the end of the month. Next, on May 10, they will be up against Forest Heights Collegiate Institute at 1:30 p.m. then Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School at 3:30 p.m. Both games are at Norm Hill Park.