Some might have viewed the splitting up of a provincial silver medallist fastball team as a major challenge to overcome the following season.
But Dave Saunders, who helped coach the Langford Lighting midget C girls to a B.C. runner-up finish last summer, sees the Softball B.C. mandated dismantling of the team as a good way to grow the sport in an age group that traditionally sees a significant dropoff.
“The competition is really good at midget C, because most of the players who have played B ball in Bantam and Pee Wee can’t put in the time due to work and other commitments,” said Saunders, whose team won gold at the Midget Magic tournament earlier this month in Port Alberni. “The ball is absolutely phenomenal.”
Softball B.C. rules state that teams which medal at the Midget C provincials can only retain six players the following season, as a way of maintaining good competition between associations.
Locally, the competition is also healthy, with View Royal and Sooke fielding good teams and the other Langford squad, coached by Brent Dillon, holding its own.
Having two teams makes it a challenge to get enough midget-aged players out – even with the age ceiling extended by a year in the C division. So bantam players are often called up to fill out the rosters, Saunders said.
They gain the benefit of a higher level of competition, he added, and are more than ready when they move up to midget.
Langford softball in general is in good shape this season.
The same weekend that Team Saunders won in Port Alberni, three other Lightning teams made it to gold medal games at tournaments at home and out of town.