Winter Ball has officially begun for Quesnel softball players.
The program was created by the Quesnel Girls Softball Association (QGSA) to provide local athletes with the opportunity to train and develop their skills outside of the short softball season.
“This is probably our fifth or sixth year running winter ball, and it makes a huge improvement with the girls,” said QGSA vice-president Wendy Richardson. “We have such a short season — it starts in May and ends at the end of June, so it’s super short — so this program allows the girls to enhance their skills.”
The extra work put in by athletes, coaches and volunteers has been paying dividends, as last season, the U14 Quesnel Terrors softball team won gold at the U14 provincial championships, while the U16 team won silver in the silver division at the U16 provincial championships.
The program has not only served to advance the abilities of the athletes in Quesnel, but also to grow interest in the sport.
“It’s actually bringing out more kids as well because they will sometimes come out just for winter ball if they can’t play during the season, and it looks like we have more [participants] this year than we’ve had in previous years,” said Richardson, who believes the program is helping to attract athletes from a younger age, adding, “Especially with the younger ones, we’ve got about as many U10 and U12s as U14, U16 and U19s combined, which is awesome and great for the sport.”
The 10-week Winter Ball program, which is held at the Quesnel Youth Soccer Association complex, started on Wednesday, Feb. 5 and is still accepting registrations for athletes and volunteers. The cost of the program is $30 for U10 athletes, who are on the field Wednesday evening from 6-7 p.m., and $40 for U12s and older, who are on the field Wednesday evening from 6-8 p.m.
Athletes interested in signing up are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org, while volunteers, for whom softball skills are not required, are asked to contact Chris Hydamacka at email@example.com.