Sports

South Surrey-White Rock Thunder blast off for Vegas

The South Surrey-White Rock Thunder U12 girls fastpitch team is headed to Las Vegas for a tournament this weekend. - Contributed photo
The South Surrey-White Rock Thunder U12 girls fastpitch team is headed to Las Vegas for a tournament this weekend.
— image credit: Contributed photo

One of the South Surrey-White Rock Thunder’s youngest softball teams is getting the season off to an early start.

The Thunder’s U12 team is in Las Vegas this weekend, taking part in the American Softball Association’s Las Vegas Valentine’s Day Blast tournament.

And while the Thunder will be the youngest team in the Blast’s U12 division – the team has many 10- and 11-year-olds on the roster – head coach Tracey Cardinal-Mitchell said the event serves a number of important purposes, regardless of how things go on the field.

“We’re the youngest team there a first-year team, and the competition down there is amazing, but for us, it’s all about team building, and really playing for the love of the game,” said Cardinal-Mitchell, who coaches the team alongside her husband, Dwayne Mitchell, and their 19-year-old daughter, Miranda, the latter a Thunder program alum.

The U12 supermite team has been together and practising since October, Cardinal said. Through the winter months, the team primarily works on skills indoors – at a school gym – but the recent run of good weather has meant the team has been able to work outdoors at their home field, Sunnyside Park.

“It’s been good. You can do so much more outdoors,” said Cardinal-Mitchell, who doesn’t have a child on the team but continues to coach after a dozen years with the Thunder association.

Though they aren’t new to the sport – with the exception of one player, who is in her first year playing softball – Cardinal-Mitchell’s crew is still new to rep-level ball, so the more experience they can get early in the season, the better, the coach said.

And to say the girls were excited leading up to the trip is an understatement, she added.

“The girls have been counting the sleeps at every practice,” Cardinal-Mitchell said last week.

And while the U12 rep squad may be set for the coming season, the Thunder organization is still accepting registration for house-league play, which begins in late March.

House-league player evaluations – for players aged 5-14 are set for Feb. 14. For more information, visit www.sswrmsa.ca

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