Practice is nearly underway at Central Park’s ball diamond when Maddy Creasey begins backing a 1990s gold sedan into a parking spot.
After a few re-adjustments of the car’s angle, a second attempt, and the guidance of a parent on foot, 18-year-old Creasey accomplishes parallel parking success on Vancouver Street.
“Practice is almost over, are you parked yet?” quips a coach.
It’s the start of many laughs as the Victoria Devils ’94 girls fastpitch team goes from silly to serious in a matter of minutes, and falls into a stretching and warmup routine. Albeit the topic of discussion meanders to a History 12 pop quiz on the names of German war leaders, before returning to the baseball.
It’s been seven years since the under-18 team formed, but seven original players still remain on the squad. Of those seven, Mackenzie Smith and Sarah Chow go back even further, coming from Layritz Little League, where they were first coached by the Devils bench boss Bruce Lubinich.
“It’s the last year together as a minor ball team and it’s been a lot of fun, seven years worth of ‘a lot of fun,” Lubinich said.
During the team’s run it has finished second at the provincial championships three separate times, going on to finish third, fourth and ninth at the 2008, ’10 and ’11 national championships, respectively. To say the team is due to win at B.C.s is an understatement. So with great excitement, the team is hosting this year’s U18 provincials, July 27 to 29.
“Last year at nationals we were a first-year (midget) team. We have that experience on our side now.”
The top two or three teams from B.C.s (yet to be decided by Softball Canada) will advance to the nationals in Montreal this summer.
But that’s a long ways away.
Two weekends ago the Devils opened the season at the Softball City spring classic in Surrey, defeating national team pitcher Jocelyn Cater and the White Rock Renegades.
Up 6-0 in the tournament final, the Devils looked to have the tourney in the bag.
“The wheels fell off,” Lubinich said. “But that’s why you play these games early in the season. It’s good to get those out of the way.”
The Devils play senior baseball in the Victoria-Saanich Women’s Softball Association out of Hyacinth Park along with two more midget clubs, the Duncan Red Hot’s and Langford Midget A.
The tournaey for the Devils is the Renegades Canadian Pride and Power, May 19 to 21 in Surrey.
Second baseman Chelsea Strandlund is going to New Zealand to play semi-professionally next year and will likely go to the NCAA in 2013. Devils’ Sarah Chow (Utah University), Emily Newman (Frank Phillips Community College), Olivia Tubman (Graceland University) and Mckenzie Smith (Stanford University) are all headed to college for September.