by Rosalyn Roy
PORT AUX BASQUES – The St. James Regional High School ladies softball team defeated the rival team from Corner Brook Regional High School on Saturday, Oct. 24 to secure the regional championship in a best of three format. They won by a score of 14 to 6 in the first game and 15 to 10 in the second game to claim the title.
“Due to COVID that’s all we had, just the one team come out,” said Coach Steve Lefrense. “It would be what we could class as a regional, but that’s probably as far as we’re going to go this year, right now at least.”
Lefrense says that if restrictions ease off as the pandemic situation improves and a provincial tournament is announced, then St. James would play.
The St. James team is comprised of females in grade 10, 11 and 12 but Lefrense is quick to point out that some members of the team grew up playing ball in Isle aux Morts in their younger years, and are now attending high school in Port aux Basques. That experience allowed them to serve as veterans to some of their teammates who hadn’t played the sport before.
Lefrense has taken a leave of absence from serving on Isle aux Morts council to relocate to Port aux Basques, but expects to resign by year end. He’s been part of their ball program for years, first as a young player and eventually as a coach. Now he’s keen to develop a similar all girls program in Port aux Basques.
“Even in that short 10 or 12 practices that we did have, I saw an immense improvement in a lot of those girls,” shares LeFrense. “
The coach says that a lot of the players are athletes who are transitioning into softball during the pandemic.
“There’s a lot of school sports that are just not on the table due to COVID,” notes Lefrense. “There is no school volleyball, basketball. There’s no school floor hockey.”
Once softball was given the green light by School Sports NL (SSNL) for 2020, Lefrense started canvassing the students to build a team. Out of the 19 players who tried out, 12 were selected for this year’s team, but the coach says there’s enough interest now that he anticipates having more next summer.
“If we could even get three teams then I would be happy, because we would have a three team league and we would be playing a couple of games each week,” says the coach. “I’ve pretty much got the same team next year and probably even the following year.”
Anyone interested in learning more or signing up to play next season should contact Steve Lefrense via Facebook.