Elmira District Secondary School’s girls’ slo-pitch team is off to anything but a slow start.
The team pulled off two wins in their first doubleheader of the season on May 4. They defeated Southwood Secondary School 16-4, followed by a 22-5 win over Jacob Hespeler Secondary School.
The Elmira group has been successful for the past few years, playing without a single loss last season and defeating St. David’s Catholic Secondary School in the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletic Association (WCSSAA) championship.
“We had a really nice start. We did better than expected for sure. Because we had new players we weren’t sure how the season was going to go, but once we saw the girls out on the diamond and playing together, we think we have lots of potential,” said coach Brian Carter.
About half of last year’s championship team returned this year, with a good core of players to build from.
“There’s a couple girls who have a lot of raw talent, but haven’t really played a lot of ball, so they’re learning as we go. As the season progresses we think there’s a few girls on the team that will really contribute more so than they can now,” he said.
He says their pitcher, Lauren Quehl, will be integral to the team this year. She’s pitched for EDSS for three years.
“It’s just so nice to have a reliable pitcher in slo-pitch. It makes the games go faster. It makes the girls defensively ready to go because you’re not sitting around waiting. She’s just a reliable pitcher, it’s great to have. And she’s a good hitter as well. She’ll be important.”
He notes they’ll depend on third-year Leah Sebben who’s one of the team’s better hitters and a good second baseman.
“Jacqueline Wideman is going to be very important this year because she’s going to play shortshop. A girl who graduated last year had played shortshop for the last five years for us which is really rare. Jacqueline’s replacing a really good player and we think she’s got the ability to do a really good job in that role,” he said.
It’s hard to know year to year which teams will be good, but Carter says Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School, the only other township high school, always seems to have a pretty strong team.
EDSS and WODSS were tied for first place in the league heading into this Wednesday’s games.
As for what appeals EDSS girls to slo-pitch, he says it’s less demanding than many of the other high school sports.
“We’re only out on the diamond twice a week instead of four, five practices a week. It’s more of a relaxed attitude. And a lot of them that are on the team play fastball or slo-pitch at their churches or in the community. It’s a way to get together at school and do the same thing,” he said.
Aside from the basics – hitting, throwing and catching – they’ve been practicing the details of the game to hopefully continue their winning streak this season.
“We’re still basically working on some subtleties to the game, like situational stuff, like where to throw the ball when there’s runners on this base and if there’s that many outs, do this, just some intricacies of the game because a lot of them haven’t played a ton of baseball… We try to work on their base running and their defensive skill and situational play the best we can and then of course we just have as much batting practice as we can,” he said.
He expects the team to be very competitive in their playoff tournament next month.
“We feel like we should be competitive for sure. In early June we’ll have our playoff tournament and we certainly hope we will qualify for the playoff tournament and then go as far as we can within it,” he said.
The team faced Huron Heights Secondary School and Preston High School on Wednesday. Scores were not available before press time. They play again on May 18 versus Eastwood Collegiate Institute and Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School. Their only home game is June 1 at 3:30 p.m. against Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School at Elmira Lions Park.