Top News

Stratford area boys enjoying opportunity to learn game of softball

Daniel Ferguson prepares to catch the ball while covering first base on a bunt during a recent Kevin Quinn Re/Max Stratford Stealers boys’ softball team practice.
Daniel Ferguson prepares to catch the ball while covering first base on a bunt during a recent Kevin Quinn Re/Max Stratford Stealers boys’ softball team practice. - Jason Malloy The Guardian
STRATFORD, P.E.I. —

When Emmett Power’s teacher said he was starting a boys’ softball team two years ago, the Mermaid youngster decided to give it a try.

Power, now 13, has enjoyed learning the new sport while still playing baseball. He catches in baseball for the Stratford A’s 13-and-under AA team but pitches or plays shortstop and third base in softball for the Kevin Quinn Re/Max Stratford Stealers boys’ squad.

“It wasn’t too much different,” he said of learning softball. “Getting the pitching down was the first thing and your hitting was a bit different, (as the pitches are) coming in underhand instead of overhand.”

Aiden Murnaghan was a classmate of Power’s at Donagh Regional School and has also been playing the sport for two years.

“It was different because the balls are a lot bigger than baseballs and the pitching is underhand,” said Murnaghan, a 13-year-old Donagh native who plays baseball for the Eastern Express 13-and-under AAA squad. “And the pitching mound is a lot closer, so you don’t have as much time to swing the bat.”

Aiden Murnaghan works on his pitching during the Kevin Quinn Re/Max Stratford Stealers’ practice. - Jason Malloy The Guardian
Aiden Murnaghan works on his pitching during the Kevin Quinn Re/Max Stratford Stealers’ practice. - Jason Malloy The Guardian

Mark Quinn was the boys’ teacher and is one of their coaches on the softball diamond. The sport was non-existent on the boys’ side, so Quinn and others are trying to expose boys to the sport in hopes of growing it.

The team is comprised of 11 boys between the ages of 10 and 13. They practice on Thursday mornings at the Bunbury Park Ball Field in Stratford with games Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Ecole Francois Buote School in Charlottetown.

“It was quite a juggling act trying to find a time to train once a week and play a game … because we were trying to work around five different baseball teams and their schedules,” Quinn said.

“Being the only boys’ softball team on the Island we needed teams to play against and six under-14 girls’ team have stepped up and agreed to play games against us.”

Alex Heron executes a textbook bunt during the Kevin Quinn Re/Max Stratford Stealers boys’ softball team's recent practice at Bunbury Park Ball Field in Stratford. - Jason Malloy The Guardian
Alex Heron executes a textbook bunt during the Kevin Quinn Re/Max Stratford Stealers boys’ softball team's recent practice at Bunbury Park Ball Field in Stratford. - Jason Malloy The Guardian

The boys have two wins, a close loss and a tie this summer.

One of the greatest challenges for boys converting from baseball to softball is learning how to pitch. Power and Murnaghan have been improving every day on the diamond.

“Both Emmett and Aiden have very receptive to feedback as they develop as young pitchers and I look forward to seeing their continued success,” Quinn said. “In order for boys’ softball to grow, we need more boys to learn how to pitch. There are number of exceptional male athletes out there, and with more pitchers, we could have more boys’ softball teams to compete against on the Island.”

Emmett Power rips a ball during a batting drill in Stratford. - Jason Malloy The Guardian
Emmett Power rips a ball during a batting drill in Stratford. - Jason Malloy The Guardian

Power has enjoyed learning how to pitch in softball.

“It was pretty fun,” he said, noting he has a dropball and a change-up while working on a riseball. “There were a few learning curves, but I got it done and am still learning.”

The coaching staff includes Jason Campbell, Roy Power and Matthew Power.

“Having both Roy and Jason to work with me at practice has allowed us to do a range of things during our training time and I also have Matthew Power, who has been able to attend games on Sunday.”

jason.malloy@theguardian.pe.ca

@SportsGuardian

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories