Sunday , 2 October 2022

SPORTSHOUND: Right Side Left – Left Side Right!

Image: Elk Point Peewee Girls Softball 1994

Tales from the Doug-Out: June 23rd, 2020

We have been focusing on the Sox boys baseball  for the last few weeks, so I thought we would throw you a change up pitch this week  and talk a little bit about the girls softball that my daughter Jena played. Fair is fair.
I will pick a year in about 1994, because that was about the time she decided to quit softball and go into soccer. After winning the World Series in 1992 and 1993 the Blue Jays finished third in the American League East with 55 wins and 60 losses. The World Series was cancelled in 1994 for only the second time in league history due to a MLB Players Association strike on August 12. The only other time was in 1904. Of course this year is still up in the air, hopefully we get to see a World Series. But the days are getting shorter now.
Jena played softball up until she was in Peewee or should I say U13 to stay politically correct and not offend anyone.
The problem was she could never hit the ball very well. The pitchers in mites U9 and squirts U11 really struggle to throw a strike. Nine times out of ten they would throw the ball high, low or wide. Unless the umpire has a really huge strike zone or you swung the bat you could get on base with a walk. So Jena could get on base with a walk. The only way you will ever get any better at hitting is to swing the bat. But, of course, if you’re not a great hitter some competitive coaches that only worry about winning will encourage you to take a walk instead of swinging the bat. A walk usually equals a run at that level.
But the pitchers in Peewee knew how to throw strikes. Jena would end up going to the bench with her bat on her shoulder. She wasn’t having any fun. She ended up going to play soccer and really enjoyed that. She knew how to run and kick.
I really failed at teaching her how to hit a baseball. Teaching her how to drive was another test… but, I left that one up to her mother.
I must admit I didn’t spend as much time teaching Jena how to hit a ball as her brother Jordan. Jordan was a natural at hitting. He swung the bat right. I swung the bat right. So naturally I must have figured that Jena would swing the bat right and therefor anytime we did practice batting I would teach her to stand on the right side of the plate. A few years later she decided to play hockey. When she went to her first practice I gave her one of my old right handed hockey sticks. Because Jordan and I both shoot right. Guess what? Here she is shooting the puck from the left side with the back end of the stick. A light bulb comes on and I realize she naturally shoots left and bats left. No wonder she couldn’t hit the ball.
The last couple of years believe it or not she has been playing slow pitch. Yes, no kidding I couldn’t believe it when she started and so I went to a few games. In fact last year her team won the league. Not sure if the beer and coolers in the dug out have something to do with it but they sure are having fun. One of the games I went to she actually got on base with a hit. Here she is swinging the bat from the left side. Still doesn’t hit all that well but at least she is swinging. In fact she told me she leads the league in strike outs. Then laughs.
Her two daughters 8 year old Farrah and 7 year old Vienna and I go the ball diamond often when they come for a sleep over. Both of them had signed up to play this year.
We have batting practice and some other drills like hit and run and fielding and throwing. They are both left handed and throw the ball fairly well for their age. And both of them hit the ball better from the left side than the right side. And statically you are closer to first base by two or three steps if you hit the ball from the left side. So batting left has an advantage. Now if we could only get the ball season rolling.
K.A. Campbell quote of the week ‘Never let the fear of striking out get in your way’ – Babe Ruth

About Doug Bassett

As Elk Point's resident sportshound, Doug Bassett has been actively involved in the local sports scene for over 30 years. He's been writing sports reports on local amateur sports starts for 20 years. Down-to-earth honest sports reporting, Doug will bring you updates on the sports that matter the most; your kids! Known for giving every kid on the team a unique nickname and highlighting their attributes, Doug will make sure you're up-to-date with scores, games, and locker room antics!