Taylor Farrer, left, and her fastpitch team, right, went down to Fort Lauderdale to play their first tournament last weekend.
Taylor Farrer just returned from Fort Lauderdale.
Her fastpitch team, the 222’s, just played their first games together south of the border.
Farrer was picked to play in four travel tournaments this winter for an elite team of U14 girls from Alberta to Ontario.
“It was definitely an eyeopener,” Taylor said. “There was some good girls there and the fields were huge compared to what we had.”
Her team went 1-4 on the weekend, but all the games were within a couple of runs. Not bad, considering it was also the first time the team had been together for longer than a practice, nevermind playing under the lights in Florida.
“I had so much with fun with my teammates. Even though we didn’t win as many games as we wanted to, it was still fun to hang out with them and play some ball,” she said.
“It was a learning experience for sure.”
The Grade 8 from H.E. Bourgoin showed a keen interest in ball after her first year. She kept asking her dad to throw the ball around, and practices any time she can.
Taylor made the team in late September after a tryout in Saskatoon, the first she ever travelled for.
She eventually made the squad thanks to her hitting prowess, strong arm, and mind for the game. In the 222’s lineup, she’s penciled in at first and third base.
“She’s always been a strong player within the community,” said Taylor’s dad Travis, who’s coached her daughter since joining minor ball.
“So it was nice to get out of Bonnyville and see how she would compete with other city kids, or kids equally skilled. She did well.”
The 222’s were the only Canadian team at the tournament and there were some subtle differences from rural Alberta ball.
A massive beautifully maintained complex of nearly 20 ball diamonds, teams who play together 11 months of the year, and coaches who are little more intense than the old pros Canada has.
“In the States if you screw up, there’s three of four players on the bench that can replace you at any time. In Canada if you’re the best player on the team and you screw up, there’s not three of four,” Travis said.
“So for Canada you see that urgency in hockey, but you don’t see it for any other sport really. While down there they live and breath ball.”
Taylor’s team has a tournament in San Diego next month, and games in Temecula and Orange County next year.
Travis thinks that his daughter’s early success might pave the way for up-and-coming ball players in the Lakeland to say, “If she can do it, I can do it.”
“It’s good for the growth of ball in this community – to see that from a small community, if you put in the time and effort, you can go and play on a competitive team like this,” said Travis Farrer.