The July long weekend will be a busy one for the players and coaches of the Sylvan Lake Storm as they head to the Under 10 Provincial Playoffs.
The girls softball team is excited to be the first team from Sylvan Lake to make it to the playoff tournament, according to the team’s manager Andrea Ulseth.
“We are actually the first team at this level to actually make it to provincials, and the girls are pretty excited about that,” Ulseth said.
It shows how far the girls have come since the the beginning of the season in April, according to Head Coach Marvin Desormeau, who describes the team as a “great bunch of girls” and “easy to coach.”
The team, which has six first year players and two underage players, has shown a lot of skill, with players who are constantly improving.
“We have been surprising the larger centres when we play them. The games we have lost have been only by a run or two,” said Desormeau.
The team has played in some pretty large tournaments this season against very strong teams. Ulseth said the Storm recently played in the Olds tournament where they faced A teams. In that tournament the team was able to walk away with one win and two losses.
“The ones we lost were by two or three runs. We were really competitive,” said Ulseth.
In the Red Deer tournament the Storm made it all the way to the bronze final, where they lost. Desormeau said the girls have shown great skill in the short season.
As a coach, Desormeau said he and his two assistant coaches, Kelly Ulseth and Cody Small, try to focus on the fundamentals and the process of the game.
“Their understanding of the game is outstanding – really surprising,” said Desormeau, adding “their skill level has really expanded over the season too.”
Moving on to provincials could be anyone’s game, according to Desormeau. The Storm has already faced a few teams from Central Alberta, but there will be many others from elsewhere in the province the Storm has not faced.
Without knowing these teams, Desormeau said it is hard to tell how the team will fare in the tournament.
“We’ve been competitive this season and I think we will continue to be, as we head to provincials.”
The team has had their ups and downs during the season, as every team does, but Desormeau said they always had a chance in each game.
He believes the team will have their chance, and be competitive, in the playoffs.
Ulseth said the tournament will be a good experience for the girls to play different teams from all over.
“I hope they will play good ball during playoffs and that they will enjoy themselves,” said Ulseth.
Desormeau said the best part of coaching the Storm is watching the girls make a play. At their age making one play is still a big deal, he added.
“Their whole face just lights up and they are so excited. That makes coaching worthwhile.”
The Storm will play in the Alberta Softball Provincials June 30-July 2 in Edmonton, at the Henry Singer Diamonds.