COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Jenna Marshall reaches for a grounder during practice with the U14 Westman Magic girls’ softball team.
Simplot Millenium Park is getting a facelift from a baseball complex to a softball facility this weekend, and a pair of Westman Magic teams are hoping to win provincial championships there.
Brandon plays host to the under-14 girls’ A championship and Senior B provincials, with the younger age group playing from today through Sunday and the seniors playing Saturday and Sunday.
For the U14 Magic, it’s a chance to make their early-season goal become a reality.
"Sure the expectations are high," head coach Jason Slator said. "We set the expectation high at the beginning of the year and we’re trying to reach that goal now.
"I’ve been telling our kids that everybody is a piece of the puzzle and if all those pieces come together at the right time and we put everything in the right spot, then we’ll be fine."
The Magic have had a solid season. They finished second in the Manitoba Ladies Super Softball League with an 8-5-1 record, won a tournament in Regina and finished second at another in Fargo, N.D.
Slator feels that his team can compete with six of the other seven teams at provincials, but he knows that the Smitty’s Terminators will be tough. They went 17-0 in the Manitoba Ladies Super Softball League and Slator doesn’t expect them to be any easier to beat at provincials.
For his team to be successful this weekend, he feels the Magic need to play the good defence they are known for and get production from everyone on the team.
"I don’t think there’s one person who stands out," Slator said. "I think everyone contributes what they can the best and we’re more of an overall well-rounded team than relying on one or two superstars."
The Magic open the tournament today against the Manitoba Thunder at 6:15 p.m. The final is set for Sunday at 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Magic senior squad got off to a slow start this season as head coach Bev Neufeld waited for players to return from their college teams in the U.S. before she got the ball rolling.
Neufeld feels her team will be able to challenge the Winnipeg Bandits and Lightning for the title this weekend, with the likes of Morgan Glowa, Cejay Hilhorst and Taylor Ursel leading the way.
"You always put the gold medal as your target," she said. "I don’t think it’s an unrealistic goal. I think we’re quite capable of achieving that.
"The key to our success will be our offence. I have a fairly successful hitting club, so that’s what will determine our success. If we’re hitting the ball, I think we’ll be successful."
The Senior B championship is a double round robin with each team playing two games on Saturday and two more on Sunday. In the event of a tie, a championship game will be played later Sunday afternoon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 18, 2014