Alberni Valley Blazers host U19C provincials

“It’s the first time we’ve hosted U19C girls,” says Shannon Charlesworth, who is coaching the Alberni Valley Blazers this weekend.

The U19 Blazers girls’ fastball team have had the same core for the past several years. They are hosting the U19C girls’ championships July 8–10.

When the U19C girls’ provincial softball championships kick off in Port Alberni on Friday, July 8, it will complete a very special cycle for Alberni Valley Minor Softball.

“It’s the first time we’ve hosted U19C girls,” says Shannon Charlesworth, who is coaching the Alberni Valley Blazers this weekend.

“Now that we’re hosting, it means we’ve hosted every provincial age group that Softball BC offers.”

Port Alberni is a preferred venue for Softball BC provincial championships, she said. “We’re fortunate because we have a great volunteer base.”

Sixteen teams from around B.C. will gather at Echo Minor Fields July 8–10 to compete for the BC title.

The Alberni Valley Blazers have the host spot and are defending BC champions. The Parksville Rage will compete in the other District 2 spot after beating out a second Port Alberni squad.

Five girls on this team have played softball since they were five years old, and three have played together since they were  Squirts—about nine years, Charlesworth said. Her daughter, Chelsey Charlesworth, is home from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, where she plays for the SAIT Trojans on a softball scholarship; Makenna Harding, Jamie Vissia, Dara Dirocco and Chelsey Burgess are the other core players.

(All but Burgess were on the team that brought home a provincial championship from Victoria last year—Burgess was on a class trip to Cuba.)

“This will be the last year of their minor softball career. After this they age out,” Shannon Charlesworth said.

Gathering the girls to confirm a host team was tough because of their schedules, she added. “We haven’t played a lot of games this year. I’m just happy we were able to get enough girls to put a team together.”

The Alberni Valley Blazers will play Friday at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. There is a skills and drills competition on Friday at Echo Minor Fields, starting at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to come and watch.

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