Preparing for Canada Games
Reds head to final tournament before Winnipeg trip after winning bronze in Ontario
The Summerside Chrysler Dodge Reds have taken another major step towards the team’s ultimate goal of representing P.E.I. at the Canada Games in Winnipeg next month.
The Reds, after losing 1-0 to Ontario’s Canada Games team in the semifinals, defeated the Port Perry, Ont., senior women’s team 10-4 to earn the bronze medal recently at the under21 Team Ontario invitational fastpitch tournament in Kitchener, Ont. The Reds win versus Port Perry avenged a 7-4 loss in round-robin play.
“I couldn’t have asked anything more from the players,” said Reds head coach Jeff Ellsworth. “We said from Day 1 of the trip it’s not how you start, it’s always how you finish. We preached ‘finish strong’ a lot, and they did just that.”
The Reds, who completed tournament play 3-4, used the six-day trip to Kitchener as preparation for the Canada Games.
“The coaching staff really wanted to wear out the players
and expose them to a gruelling long week and see how they would react on the back half to simulate a long week at Canada Games,” explained Ellsworth, who noted the team will play nine games in 4 ½ days in Winnipeg.
“With travel to and from the park and the time spent between games at the field, it’s going to wear out the body, so we wanted to make sure it wasn’t the first time they were exposed to a schedule of that magnitude heading Canada Games.”
The Reds also took time to give back to the local Kitchener and area minor ball program as they held a clinic that focused on three stations – infield, outfield and pitching – and worked with each group for an hour.
Next up for the Reds is the eighth annual Lloyd Poirier memorial fastball tournament this weekend near Truro, N.S. It will be the team’s final tournament before the Canada Games.
“These athletes really get it, and want it very badly,” said Ellsworth. “Over the past four years, some of them have competed in over seven national championships, and are ready to play on the biggest stage of their lives.
“We are very fortunate to have three members who have competed at the Canada Games before, and can pass on the experience they’ve had as well as answer any questions other athletes may have.”
The three members are Clara Jane Wood in 2013 for softball as well as Hope Higginbotham and Sarah Woodside in 2015 for hockey. into the