It’s been an impressive run for the members of the Lethbridge Heat U17 softball roster.
In July, the players will go to their fourth provincials since 2018. They only missed the tournament in 2020 when there was no season.
“I think if this is going to be one of our seasons, it’s going to be this one,” said first baseman Leigh Kowalchuk.
“It definitely feels like a family more than anything this year. I’m very impressed with ourselves and how much we’ve improved. It’s great seeing it in myself and everyone else too.”
Six years go, there were barely enough players to field a team.
Fast forward to 2022 and the Heat have already made provincials at multiple age levels, with the majority of the girls playing together for years.
Its continuity the squad feels is an asset, especially after the past couple of seasons.
“Even just coming back, it’s like straight back to normal,” catcher Dakota Telford said. “It’s not anything different, there’s no new things.
“Everyone knows each other, it’s the same routine.”
Now the hope is that familiarity can push the group over the top.
Despite the Heat’s success, the team hasn’t captured a provincial championship.
Heading into St. Paul, Alta., with a perfect 17-0 record this season, the squad believes it can turn that momentum into a title and wash away last year’s disappointing finish.
“We lost to the first-place team by one, which was really hard,” Jessa Van Nistelrooy said. “But we’re glad and ready to come back this year for sure and hopefully take first.”
That is something the Heat feel they have the tools to achieve.
“If we work well as a team and keep one another’s spirits high, we’ll accomplish that goal,” Van Nistelrooy said.
“Everyone has the capabilities to do well,” Kowalchuk said. “As long as we put our plan into action, I think we can definitely pull out a win.”
The team has just over a week left to prepare. Provincials begin on July 8.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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