Sechelt Minor Softball

girls and boys ages 5-19

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May 10th, 2008
May 10th, 2008

Sunshine Coast skills shine with SFU

Some up and coming softball stars learned from the best at the annual Simon Fraser University (SFU) Clan softball clinic last weekend. The fourth annual event, put on by the Sechelt Minor Softball Association (SMSA), saw more than 100 youngsters participate in the three-day clinic. More than 60 players took part in a pitching clinic on Friday night at Kinnikinnick Elementary School. SFU head coach Mike Renney said the players were divided into groups based on their age and skill level. “If it was a younger pitcher, maybe a player who has just started pitching, then we made sure to get right down to the basics,” said Renney. “For some of the older players, we took the opportunity to do some more advanced things with them and try to help them to refine their game.” On Saturday and Sunday, all-day skills clinics were held at Kinnikinnick Park where each of the 18 members of the Clan softball team led participants through a variety of drills from proper fielding and catching to base running and hitting. “Every year we come up here, I´m impressed with the improvement in all the players,” Renney said. While the players were on the field, several coaches were in the classroom on Saturday and Sunday mornings for a coaching clinic put on by Renney. “Again, it´s just as important for the coaches to get a refresher on skills and coaching as it is for the players,” Renney said. “We can only do so many things during a weekend. It´s up to the coaches to further the players´ skills and development. This association certainly does that. They care about the players and want to see them succeed.” Renney said SFU does other clinics, but the weekend on the Sunshine Coast is one the team looks forward to. “We have limited availability based on our schedule and with travel demands, but we´re always treated first rate by the association and by everyone here on the Coast, so now we block in this weekend every year,” said Renney. “It´s about giving back to the sport and giving back to your community. The only way we´ll be able to sustain our softball program at SFU or the national team is to keep players involved in the sport. Hosting these clinics is a way of doing just that.” SMSA president Sid Quinn said he was thrilled with the numbers for this year´s clinic - the largest one yet in the four-year history. “It´s for the kids. It gives them a chance to learn from some of the best players and one of the best coaches in softball,” Quinn said. “Mike´s overall knowledge of the game is incredible. To be afforded the opportunity to learn from him is a privilege that our players and our association is proud to be a part of.” The SMSA season is just four weeks old, but already the season has produced its fair share of close games and quality play - play that has improved thanks to the annual SFU softball weekend. “There is no question that our players´ skills have improved thanks to the efforts of Mike and his players,” added Quinn. Fourth-year senior Heather Riess from Surrey has been at all the Sunshine Coast camps. The second baseman said it´s been a great experience working with the kids over the years. “It´s been a rewarding experience for me. To see the smiles on the kids´ faces and to feel that you´re giving back to the sport and to your community is a good thing,” she aid. “It´s neat to watch the kids, especially this year because I´ve kind of seen them grow up over the years and seen them improve and get better with their game.” The Clan has had a tough season on the field. Plagued with a dozen rainouts, several of which were in California, and snow in Oregon, the Clan have played only 21 games and go into this weekend´s regional finals in Oregon with a 14-7 record. “It´s going to be a challenge for us,” said Renney. “The big thing for us is maybe not being as battle tested as the other three teams. They´ve all played close to 40 games, where we´ve just played 21. We have a young team this year, but if we play the way we´re capable of, I´m very confident we can advance to the nationals.” Should SFU be successful this weekend, the Clan head to the nationals set for Alabama later in the month.


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