By Garrett Simmons
Sunny South News
It may not look like it outside, but baseball season is right around the corner.
For the Kate Andrews Pride, the 2023 season was scheduled to open in Lethbridge with a Wednesday game against Magrath, until Mother Nature got in the way.
The Pride now await an April 19 date against McCoy, set for 6 p.m. at Spitz Stadium.
When games do get underway for coach Dan Griffith and his Kate Andrews team, the Coaldale outfit will look to rely on a number of players to ensure a successful season.
“We have a great mix of players from grade 9 through 12,” said the coach. “A couple players I expect to lead on and off the field are Conner Wittebolle on the mound, Ethan Honess at shortstop and Brett Hudey at centrefield.”
Griffith added he expects a number of other players to play key roles throughout the season as well.
“That being said, everyone knows they have the opportunity to work themselves into a starting spot, so the players are bringing a lot of great energy to practice and are pushing themselves and each other to get better. It’s a lot of fun to be around.”
The coach went on to say his Kate Andrews squad should be solid on the defensive side of the game, due to the experience factor.
“Defensively, we are a fairly well-rounded team,” said Griffith. “We have veteran players behind the dish, on the mound and basically in every position. If a ball is catchable, or a play is makeable, the players will give their best effort.”
At the plate, Griffith expects the Pride will put a ton of pressure on opposing defences this season.
“Offensively, we plan to have an aggressive mindset at the plate expect to put the ball in play and put the onus on the other team to make the play. There will be no easy outs when we are batting.”
Kate Andrews will once again compete in a tough league, where evenly-matched teams will battle it out on a weekly basis.
“The great thing about this league is the parity of the teams,” said Griffith. “If a team forgets to come out for a half an inning, expect their opponents to take advantage. Last season, there were a few games that ended opposite of what everyone expected, and I imagine we will see a few games that end similarly this season.”
Just exactly how the team is shaping up has been a little tough to judge, due to the fact Kate Andrews, like all teams in southern Alberta, has not been able to get outside much for full workouts.
“This has been a disappointing spring,” said the coach. “We have been making do on our local school field when the weather has been decent, but we’ve had lots of indoor gym sessions. We have also had the opportunity to get to the batting cages at YQL Sluggers for a couple evenings, but we really need to get outside and play on a diamond. I am hoping that Monday was our last indoor session.”
When the temperatures do warm up, and Kate Andrews can get outside and start playing games, Griffith is excited to see what his team can do.
“Just like the start of every sport I’ve ever coached, I’m excited and optimistic about the season. Up and down the lineup there isn’t a weak spot. And then there are the volunteer coaches. Without them, we wouldn’t have a team. We are all looking forward to the best words of the season, play ball.”