As­cen­sion ready to de­fend soft­ball crown

School host­ing 4A pron­vi­cial tour­ney

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate boys’ soft­ball team will de­fend its AAAA soft­ball crown on its home turf at the Wil­bur Sparkes Re­cre­ation Com­plex in Bay Roberts on Oct. 13-14.

The Bay Roberts school will host teams from Holy Trin­ity High in St. John’s, Queen El­iz­a­beth High in Fox­trap, Ron­calli Cen­tral High in Avon­dale, Clarenville High, Ex­ploits Val­ley High in Grand Falls-Wind­sor and Stephenville High.

Se­nior player Tyson Drover said the team is “con­fi­dent” ahead of the pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment.

“It feels good to be play­ing at our own field,” he said.

Drover is one of four re­turn­ing play­ers from the cham­pi­onship squad last fall. The oth­ers are Jared Adams, Zach Nose­wor­thy and Colin Lynch.

He said the team is look­ing for­ward to get­ting the chance to bring home the pro­vin­cial ban­ner for a sec­ond time.

The Astros en­ter the tour­na­ment as un­der­dogs af­ter fail­ing to win the qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment for the Avalon re­gion, los­ing 6-3 to Ron­calli.

This meant that As­cen­sion got its place in the tour­na­ment be­cause it was host­ing the pro­vin­cial play­downs.

De­spite that, head coach Trevor Dixon likes the makeup of his team.

“We are re­ally good de­fen­sively,” he said.

Al­though the team is com­prised of mostly con­verted base­ball play­ers, in­clud­ing 2012 NL Sum­mer Games sil­ver medal­ists Bradley Riggs, Ste­wart Brazil, Nick Par­sons and Zach Coombs, and just one reg­u­lar soft­ball player — Bran­don Mo­ri­ar­ity — Dixon thinks his squad is primed to re­peat.

“I think we have a very strong team,” he said.

At the plate, Dixon said the team is a “work in progress.”

“We’re not bad, by any means, but I find that the tran­si­tion from base­ball to soft­ball is dif­fer­ent,” he said.

What he found was that some of his play­ers were hit­ting a lot of fly balls rather than line drives.

“We tried get­ting the boys to use a nice, level swing,” said Dixon.

By the looks of things at prac­tice and the num­ber of line drives, Dixon and his fel­low coaches — Terri-Lynn Mercer and Jeremy Mercer — have the team headed in the right di­rec­tion.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

As­cen­sion Astros’ boys’ soft­ball first base­man Bradley Riggs snags a ground ball at prac­tice last week at the Wil­bur Sparkes Re­cre­ation Com­plex in Bay Roberts. The Astros are in prepa­ra­tions to host the pro­vin­cial boys’ soft­ball AAAA tour­na­ment this week­end.

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