Pre­par­ing for Canada Games

Reds head to fi­nal tour­na­ment be­fore Win­nipeg trip af­ter win­ning bronze in On­tario

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY JA­SON SIM­MONDS

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

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