© Submitted photo
Emily Cairns, of the Scotia Bank Reds, tries to get a bunt down in front of catcher Sarah Woodside during a recent practice.
Under-18 softball team begins season this weekend in Moncton
The under-18 Scotia Bank Reds travel to Moncton this weekend to begin the season at the annual Henry Kelly Memorial Fastball Tournament.
The event will feature more than 60 teams in a variety of divisions.
The Reds face the Sussex Storm from New Brunswick Saturday at 9 a.m. before playing Nova Scotia teams from Mount Uniacke and Tracadie.
“We are expecting big things from this squad,” said head coach Jeff Ellsworth. “We have branded a Reds’ name in P.E.I. girls’ fastpitch that is recognized across the country after a sixth-place finish at Canadian nationals in O’Leary.”
The Reds will be travelling to Saskatoon this year for nationals.
“We turned a lot of heads last season,” Ellsworth said, “and we will be once again trying to improve on our 2013 season.”
The team is made up of players from one end of the province to the other and is a mix of veterans at the under-18 level and girls who played under-16 in 2013.
Four returning players lead the veterans. They are Montague native Emily Cairns, Kildare’s Katie Rayner, Tyne Valley’s Rebecca Palmer and Charlottetown’s Kailey Koughan.
Graduating from the under-16 division will be Little Pond native Brailyne Jenkins, Murray River’s Hope Higginbotham, Charolttetown’s Laura Ready, Jada Yeo, Alyssa Fleming, Jordan Havenga, Tignish’s Abbie Morrissey, Elmsdale’s Heidi Rennie, Bloomfield’s Kaylan Ellsworth, O’Leary’s Jacinda Costello, Clara Jane Wood and Sarah Woodside.
The coaching and management staff consists of Lori Ellsworth, Curt Duckworth and new manager Jordan Ellis.
“The entire squad wants to learn and improve and over the last two years the Scotia Bank Reds have taken steps in the right direction,” Ellsworth said.
“The goal of this year’s squad is to improve on the little plays that win big games,” he added. “We worked really hard with improving the girls bat speed and the ability to hit the ball with power, so this year we will continue to grow on that but adding the defence element with systems and plays.”
Following the tournament this weekend the Scotia Bank Reds will be hosting the under-21 provincial team in an exhibition doubleheader in on Monday, May 19, at 2 and 4 p.m. at Ellis Field O’Leary.