‘Up to the challenge’
Gallant picks up softball after growing up with baseball
Baseball and softball have plenty of similarities, but enough differences to make it challenging to transition from one to the other.
“It was tough,” admitted Logan Gallant, who started playing baseball when he was four years old and got into softball in intermediate and senior high school.
However, Gallant decided to pursue it further when coach Mark Quinn asked him three years ago if he was interested in joining a men’s softball team to prepare for the 2017 Canada Games.
Unlike many Canada Games sports, there wasn’t an existing league of players on the Island for men’s softball. It meant all but one of the team’s players, Avery Arsenault, was coming from a baseball background.
“It’s a completely different sport,” Gallant said.
The ball is bigger in softball, the bases are closer and the pitcher starts 46 feet away from home plate compared to 60 feet, six inches in baseball.
But the plane of the pitch is the biggest difference, said Dave MacIsaac, head coach of the P.E.I. Junior Islanders’ baseball team. Baseball pitches traditionally go side to side while softball brings the challenge of hitting balls going up and down.
“You don’t see riseballs in baseball,” said MacIsaac.
He grew up playing baseball, but joined the Doycon midgets when they won bronze medals at the softball nationals in P.E.I.
“I found it a huge adjustment offensively,” MacIsaac said, but “Logan seems to go seamlessly from one sport to another.”
For Gallant, it’s all about being an athlete driven to compete and get better.
“I’m always up for a new challenge,” he said. “We’ve had a good core group and we’ve all started, especially this year, to adapt a lot better. We’re getting hits off of guys we never would have got hits off two and three years ago.”
Team P.E.I. softball player Avery Arsenault leads off third base during a practice in Charlottetown recently.