The EDSS boys’ slo-pitch season is off to a late start this year after the first game of the year was cancelled on Tuesday.
In fact, all Waterloo County Secondary Athletics Association (WCSSA) games were cancelled due to the condition of the fields. Boys’ slo-pitch coach Alex Derma says the team is itching to get on the field. The cancelled game would have been played against last year’s champion team from Bluevale Collegiate Institute.
“We had three tryouts and we have had team practices, and we had another one on Monday. The team looks good. The team is fast and I think that speed is going to be our focus this year,” he said. “It’s hard because we haven’t been able to get out on the field. (Monday) would be our first day on the field. We don’t have outdoor practices at all, and we have to do everything in a gym.”
Indoor practices prevent the team from holding fully comprehensive practices, but Derma says they are ready.
“In the gym, we put a lot of emphasis on team speed and we put a lot of emphasis on no errors, but hitting-wise, you don’t know how good you are until you can actually get out there and hit a slo-pitch ball,” said Derma. “You have no idea. So instead we focus on making the right plays, making the right throws and then using the base path as best we can. We do a lot of drills inside like foot work, speed and foot drills.”
This year’s team has a few returning players from last year, including last year’s MVP, and a new face or two as well.
“We have a team of 12 this year, and we have 12 really good players,” said Derma. “We have some returning and a transfer as well which is going to help us. Big returns are Jeremy Schouppe, he’s a good one, he plays Team Ontario baseball outside of school, so he is a pretty big player for us. We have some Grade 11s that are coming up and looking good. Keenan Stewart is one, then David Reynolds is another Grade 11 who is going to anchor our batting lineup hopefully.”
The boys’ slo-pitch team has traditionally finished high in the standings, and Derma says he can see the team equalling past success, or even surpassing it.
“As long as we have been coaching this team, and this is our seventh or eighth year now, we have always been top four. So, we’ve gone to the finals three times and we expect to be there,” he said. “We are pushing for the finals, and hopefully get to the final championship game.”
Their next scheduled game after Tuesday’s canceled double header, is May 9 at 1:30 p.m. against Waterloo Oxford Secondary School, followed by a 3:30 p.m. game against Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School. Both games are at Norm Hill Park in New Hamburg.