It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for four Wellington County teens about to head off to the U15 girls Canadian Fast Pitch Championships in Brandon, Manitoba.
From Aug. 9 to 13, Amberly Snyder and Gretchen Morell from Alma, Millie Blamauer from Elora, and Marissa Fleming from Fergus will compete against teams from throughout the country for the title of ‘national champion’.
For Blamauer, a student at Our Lady of Lourdes High Catholic High school in Guelph, competing with her team, the Guelph Gators, is a dream come true.
“This is my sixth or seventh year on the team. I think representing Ontario is really cool,” she said.
“One of our team goals was making it to nationals. So, just having that feeling of reaching this goal, it really is amazing.”
This is Snyder’s first year with the team and says she looks forward to playing against other Canadian teams.
“We’ve usually played against teams from the U.S., so I am really looking forward to that, and also, just to be able to compete with my team,” Snyder said.
“I like the competition part of it all. I’m really excited.”
Snyder, along with Morell and Fleming, attend Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus.
All four teammates have become close friends, on and off the field.
“I enjoy the people that I have met playing baseball,” Morell said as she looks forward to travelling out of province to compete.
Fleming has been playing for the Guelph Gators for the last five years.
“I enjoy the social aspect of being on this team and meeting a bunch of new people. It’s such a great experience. and being at the competition, in that environment, I’m really looking forward to it.”
It’s the first time the teens will compete at this level.
“It’s absolutely fantastic for these girls, not only from our area but this whole area of Guelph and Centre Wellington,” said Guelph Gators U15 Red head coach Bob Blamauer from Elora, who's daughter Millie plays on the team.
“We’re proud of them. It’s amazing. For many, it could very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is the nationals. It’s something we put on our goal list back in November.”
Bob says when the team found out that they had qualified for the national competition, there was a 'huge rush of emotions'.
“It just speaks to this team's resilience and competitive spirit,” Bob said.
“And we are just so proud of them, and they have so much to be proud of too.”