Reds heading to Saskatoon for under-18 girls nationals

Eric McCarthy
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The P.E.I. Scotiabank Reds are heading to the Canadian national under-18 girls fast pitch championship in Saskatoon, Sask. Team members, front row, from left are Curt Duckworth, Kira Duckworth, Jacinda Costello, Brailyne Jenkins, Abbie Morrissey, Hope Higginbotham, Kaylan Ellsworth, Emily Cairns and Jeff Ellsworth. Second row, Lori Ellsworth, Jordan Ellis, Clara Jane Wood, Rebecca Palmer, Laura Ready, Jada Yeo, Sarah Woodside, Alyssa Fleming, Jordon Havenga, Katie Rayner and Kailey Koughan. Missing was Heidi Rennie.

The P.E.I. Scotiabank Reds have a straight-forward theme in mind as they get set to represent P.E.I. at the Canadian national under-18 girls fast pitch championship in Saskatoon, Sask.

"Staying calm and focused under pressure will be the theme at this year's national," said Reds head coach Jeff Ellsworth.

For some members of the team, this will be their third national championship in as many years.

They leave Sunday and play their first two round-robin games on Monday against teams from Ontario and Manitoba. A total of 22 teams are taking part.

"Last year, our goal was to make the top-ranked division," Ellsworth said of the under-16 national tournament hosted in O'Leary. "This year, moving up a division, we want to be realistic with our goal-setting, so we want to repeat last year's performance by making it to the top playoff round and then winning more games than last year."

The Reds have only four returning players from last year's under-18 team, and 12 members of the team are new to the division.

"We may be young, but we can play," insisted Ellsworth.

He suggested the biggest part in bringing a player's game to the next level is learning to be in total control, and knowing how to react to the game's pressures.

"This is a special organization to be part of," Ellsworth said.

"Each and every player on the team has bought into the team philosophy, and is pulling the rope in the same direction," he added.

"They are focused and prepared to represent P.E.I. the best they can in the sport they love the most."

The Reds will play a team from Quebec on Tuesday and finish their round-robin schedule on Wednesday, Aug. 6, against a team from British Columbia.

The Canadian champion will be crowned on Sunday, Aug. 10.

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