After a stellar finish to the season where they took gold in provincials, two young members of the Lacombe Matrix have been named to the U16 Zone 4 Alberta Summer Games softball team.
Brooke McBurney and Victoria Derwantz, two of the youngest players on the Matrix team at 15, will be participating in the Alberta Summer Games in Airdrie starting next Thursday (July 24th) and running until July 27th.
Both McBurney and Derwantz are excited to continue their season and participate in the event.
Both girls said that the try-outs in Red Deer for the Zone 4 team were challenging and even a little intimidating when so many players showed up trying to get a place on the team.
However, it was also enjoyable and worth it to meet other players.
McBurney said she was a little nervous during the try-out but Derwantz said she was confident throughout. Both players each had their own reasons for wanting to try out in the first place.
McBurney said that it has always been a goal of hers to participate in the Alberta Summer games, one that she was encouraged to pursue by her mother, who also played softball in the Games when she was younger.
“Some of the older girls, they have done that and you look up to the older girls,” said McBurney.
Derwantz said she decided to try out simply because she enjoys playing ball and wanted to extend her season as well as have another opportunity to play a high caliber of ball.
“It’s exciting that we can show that people from small communities can still play ball,” said Derwantz.
After attending three tryouts, both girls got the exciting news that they had made the team.
Derwantz said she was happy and excited that she had made the team while McBurney felt accomplished knowing she had fulfilled one of her goals as a ball player.
While McBurney and Derwantz are the only players on the team to be picked from Lacombe, they know a few of the girls they will be playing with through ball camps and such.
That being said, they still haven’t played with most of their new teammates. McBurney said that talking to the new teammates and getting to know them is key to getting more comfortable with each other on the field.
Luckily, the girls will also have a chance to play as a team a few times before the actually competition at the Alberta Summer Games. Derwantz said they have four practice sessions together and even get to play in a tournament before the event in Red Deer.
McBurney and Derwantz have a long history playing together. Both began playing softball eight years ago and have been playing together since.
Because McBurney plays catcher and Derwantz pitches, they have to work together a lot. They said that getting to play with each other makes things a little bit easier when they have a whole new group of teammates as well.
“It’s easier catching for her, because I know how she pitches,” said McBurney.
“It’s easier with Brooke, because she knows all my signals,” added Derwantz.
Both players enjoy the sport of softball for different reasons as well. Derwantz said she enjoys the game because she excels at it.
“I like being good at it,” said Derwantz. “If you win a game, it’s fun.”
McBurney said that she enjoys being part of a team and meeting new players.
“You get to go to lots of different places with tournaments and meet new people,” said McBurney.