By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Before the opening pitch of the season rockets across the field, a girls softball league in Cornwall has already hit a major milestone.
© Adam Brazeau
Softball season is underway: From left are Danika Marcil, Lydia Dennis, and Courtney Seguin.
The Cornwall Kinsmen Recreational Girls Minor Softball Association will be celebrating its 30th season in style, with brand new jerseys for all 14 of its teams.
The 2014 softball season kicks off the week of May 25th.
The league is open to girls ages 5 to 19. Nearly 200 new and seasoned players sign-up annually. There are four divisions: mites (ages 5-9), squirts (ages 10-12), pee wee (ages 13-14), bantam/midget (ages 15-16/ages 17-19).
Danika Marcil, a first base player in the pee wee division, has been circling the diamond for seven seasons. The 13-year-old was beaming in her new red and white uniform with black pin stripes during an interview with Seaway News.
"I love everything about the game - the competition, the team effort, and being able to push myself to new limits," said Marcil.
With a fresh new look, Marcil is confident that her fourth tournament championship is on the way.
Her enthusiasm for the sport and high level of team spirit is exactly why Mike Turcotte, the association's president, has been dedicated to the league for well-over a decade.
"The girls have been very, very successful over the years - even at the provincial level," said Turcotte. "I'm a hockey guy, but I love softball because every kid is involved. We have strict rules to ensure everyone gets to learn the sport."
He thanked the Kinsmen Club of Cornwall for their generous donation of $12,500 to purchase the new uniforms.
Lydia Dennis, a shortstop in the bantam midget division, has been playing for three years. She described being a softball player as hectic, since there's multiple practices and games each week on top of her studies and work schedule. But the big payoff, besides bonding with her teammates, is the thrill of victory and the roar of the crowd.
"Winning is a great feeling when you put in all that hard work," said Dennis, 16.
Turcotte trumpeted the contributions of the late Fred D'Alessio who founded the association in 1984.
Registration forms are available at the Foot and Ankle Clinic at 1077 Pitt Street.
For more information, visit www.kmgs.ca.