This is the first time in 30 years that a girl’s Squamish softball team has made provincials.
Coming off an extraordinarily successful season, the local U-15 Crushers are now headed to North Vancouver as one of the 16 teams across B.C. that made the cut. Coach Carrie Aseltine has been working with this particular group of girls since they were nine years old, so watching them dominate the playing field has been a distinct pleasure for her, the result of many years of hard work.
“We had provincial playdowns last weekend, with the Squamish Reds and the North Shore Angels, and there was a friendly rivalry going, for sure. It was a good competition. And the fact that my girls are starting to make nice plays consistently, even double plays, and there were some home runs, that shows me that the team is really coming together,” she said.
The Howe Sound Minor Ball Association recently hosted a tournament in Squamish called the Sea to Sky Softball Tournament, which allowed the Crushers to square off against teams from elsewhere. They ultimately took home silver. According to Aseltine, their confidence has been growing as they prepare for their biggest challenge yet.
“It’s not only the development of skills I’m excited about. It’s the camaraderie, the team work and team play that our girls do so fantastically, where everybody supports everybody."
Three of the players that have been making a big impression on the field are Riley Armstrong, Rylee MacDonald, and Kelsi Hall. During recent games Armstrong showed off her skills with some challenging outfield catches, while MacDonald made a big impression behind the plate. Kelsi Hall hit double home runs recently, while also acting as the team’s primary pitcher.
The softball club has recently reunited with its provincial governing body, and is seeing a surge in numbers post-pandemic. Aseltine said the support of the parents has been huge for the girls' success.
“You can’t go anywhere with a sport unless you have a great group of parents, then you can really accomplish things. We’ve gone through years where parents wouldn’t even show up at the field and basically used us as babysitting, but now they’re filling up the stands and it makes a massive difference,” she said.
“The more other teams come around for tournaments and games, to build that excitement, the more the girls want to get down into the city and they’re looking at scholarships and they’re getting exposed to the game even more. And that’s what we want, because we’re always trying to develop the sport.”
**Please note, this story has been corrected since it was first published. It is the Howe Sound Minor Ball Association that hosted the tournament, not the Crushers as was first stated.