A true utility player, Corina McClure is hoping to turn her years of experience into a medal with Team BC at the North American Indigenous Games. (Tennile Lachmuth photo)

Quesnel’s star softball pitcher in spotlight

Corina McClure finally gets her chance at NAIG tournament

Some have said her pitches have a vapour trail. Her batted ball exit velocity is above 70 miles per hour. She is one of the leaders on Team BC headed to the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Halifax, and Quesnel can lay some claim to her. Corina McClure has been playing Division-1 softball in the United States for the past year, but she is in Halifax from July 15-23.

She’ll be wearing the colours of British Columbia, but she holds within her the ancestry of the Kaska people of Liard River First Nation. She also has deep ties to Quesnel and Prince George, where her love of softball was nurtured. She said it all started at eight or nine years old, and was underwhelming at first.

“I never thought I would go very far with it, until I got older and hit about 14 or 15 and thought ‘I want to give this a whirl’ and that’s when I feel I really fell in love and wanted to go places with it,” she told The Observer. “I kinda love it a lot.”

She was a multi-sport natural athlete. She excelled as well at volleyball, wrestling, basketball, but softball stood out. She was on the roster of the team scheduled to go to the 2020 NAIGs until COVID caused the event to be cancelled. “I was devastated,” at the prospect of losing the chance forever. As a 2004-born player, as the pandemic years ticked by, she was unsure if she would get that chance to play for her ancestors. She made the current team in the final year of age eligibility.

This, of course, means she is one of the team’s most experienced players. She is now through her freshman year playing for the Saints at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas just north of Texas and Oklahoma.

“It was an OK season,” she said. “Your freshman year is going to be your worst season, usually, and I can definitely say it was a hard year for me, but I made ‘er do.”

She is primarily a pitcher, but with her speed and range she is also utilized all over the field, a true utility player with centre field ability.

She doesn’t neglect her studies, either. She has always scored high grades in school, and was at Seward on a full-ride scholarship. She is taking kinesiology courses with a dream, and why not?, of being an athletic trainer for a Major League Baseball team. Since Canada’s varsity athletics system doesn’t offer such opportunities, she is aiming her pitches back to the U.S. once again.

In the meantime she is helping to coach the U17 Thunderbirds from Prince George and working with strong local players and coaches to help her hit the next challenge deep. That challenge is upon her.

“B.C. softball is really strong. I like to think we’re going to come out with a medal. I really hope that we do; the girls all mesh well together, they are so amazing to play with. We all have a lot of potential to do great, there, but it can all come down to one pitch, one call,” she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since arriving at the NAIGs, Team BC has a record of three wins and one loss, including an 8-5 victory over Team Saskatchewan in which McClure pitched all seven innings to earn the triumph. They also beat Alberta 9-2 and Nova Scotia 13-0, dropping only one game to Manitoba 8-3. The playoff round is next.

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