Coach Chris Johnston said his Westman Magic under-16 girls’ fastball team has a habit of saving its best for last.
He hopes that will be the case again this week as the Magic compete in the western Canadian championships in Duncan, B.C.
"I’ve coached this team now for four years and typically they start to play better in provincials and then, once we go to westerns, they pick the game up again," Johnston said from the Vancouver Island community, where the tournament starts on Thursday. "This is our third year in a row qualifying for western Canadians, so hopefully maybe a bit of the jitters are gone."
The Magic played in the Manitoba Ladies Super Softball League, sitting in sixth place going into provincials last month where they took a step forward by finishing in fourth to lock up their spot in westerns.
Duncan is hosting girls’ and boys’ championships this week, with the Winnipeg Lightning joining the Magic on the girls’ side. The teams will play a six-game round robin, and Johnston expects the Magic to be competitive.
"You’ve got to qualify in the top two to make (the playoffs on) Sunday," Johnston said. "Of the six games, we’d like to win thee to four games. That’s our goal."
Johnston believes the Magic can do a good job of shutting other teams down.
Their challenge this week will be producing enough offence to scratch out some victories.
"Defensively, our girls are very solid," he said. "Offensively, our hitting tends to be up and down, so over the past week prior to westerns we’ve concentrated primarily on the hitting. So if the girls can bring both games together, defensive and offensively, then I think we’ve got a good chance of winning a few games."