PEACE ARCH NEWS - Softball comes to Sunnyside in May Madness SSWRMSA tournament

May. 10, 2023

Softball comes to Sunnyside in May Madness SSWRMSA tournament

The South Surrey White Rock Minor Softball Association (SSWRMSA) hosted its May Madness tournament, a six-team event, at Sunnyside Park for U11 players over the weeknd (May 6 and 7).

Because U11 is the division where players transition from modified playing rules to a more traditional type of game play, it was an exicting tournament for the players, noted association president Thomas Bell.

“At our U11 May Madness tournament, players pitch without the help of machines or coaches, and batters experience ‘three strikes you’re out and four balls you walk,’” Bell said, adding that coaches are also exposed to more rigid rules, and that it was also the first time many players experienced professional umpires.

“This tournament is intended to introduce U11 teams to a typical format they will encounter when playing at future competitive tournaments, such as the SSWR Championship and District Championship.”

The Lime Drivers came in first place in the tournament, with the Woodchips coming in second, and the Blueberry Muffins, in third, although they played with exceptional determination after a winless opening round and came close to advancing to the final, Bell said.

The tournament also provided an opportunity for the SSWRMSA’s new executive and volunteers to conduct a tournament for the very first time, he continued, noting longtime SSWRMSA president David Harris retired this year, but remains in a mentorship role as past president.

“This is an exciting transitional year for softball in South Surrey. The majority of our 104 volunteer executives, staff and coaches are new this year. There is tremendous energy among this wonderful group of dedicated volunteers and a strong desire to continue to grow the sport of softball in South Surrey,” Bell said.

“We currently have approximately 420 players representing 38 teams with players as young as five years old all the way to adults.”

SSWRMSA players often start with the Learn To Play program, a Softball Canada nationally recognized program that is action-packed and introduces softball to children in a revolutionary way.

“We are dedicated to the long-term development of young athletes so that they can reach their full potential while having fun!” Bell said.

As well as recreational softball for all ages, the organization offers Rep B level softball for U13 players up to U20 through its Thunder Rep B program, which provides a more competetive environment. There’s also a seniors women’s program for those players who want to continue competeitve softball once they finish with minor softball.

They also work collaboratively with the White Rock Renegades Girls Fastpitch Club to develop players so that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential, Bell said.

Renegade teams compete exclusively at the Rep A level of competition and look to compete in the most competitive tournaments available in Canada and the USA. The White Rock Renegades have eight Rep A teams ranging in age from U13 to U19 representing approximately 100 players.

“Even though SSWRMSA and White Rock Renegades are separate entities, we both look at South Surrey as one growing softball community,” Bell said, noting how both organizations work collaboratively on long-term player development as well as access to ball fields and training facilities.

“When our players tryout and join a Renegades Rep A team, we are proud to say, ‘We did our job well.’”

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