‘Up to the chal­lenge’

Gal­lant picks up soft­ball af­ter grow­ing up with base­ball

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

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.”

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Team P.E.I. soft­ball player Avery Arse­nault leads off third base dur­ing a prac­tice in Char­lot­te­town re­cently.

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