She was the only Manitoban at the recent Canadian junior women's team tryouts, so Makensy Payne has been able to tell her Smitty's Terminators teammates what's coming.
The Terminators organization is hosting Softball Canada's 2011 Under-19 Women's Canadian Fast Pitch Championship Aug. 14-21 at John Blumberg Softball Complex. They will also host the 2011 Under-16 Girls Canadian Fast Pitch Championship in conjunction. There will be 32 teams and over 600 athletes competing in the two events.
"The speed of the pitching was pretty high (at camp) and those players are the ones coming down here, so that's what we can expect," said Payne, who plays shortstop/second base with the Terminators. "It's going to be a lot of fun and a good challenge for our Manitoba teams."
Payne has accepted a scholarship and will play for the Dodge City Junior College Conquistadors in Kansas this fall. She'll be one of four Canadians on the team -- including fellow Manitobans Jaycie Morris from Winnipeg and Danielle Klassen from Niverville.
Tournament chairman Mike Ryan said it is the first time Softball Canada has held two national minor championships at the same time in the same venue.
"The players coming here are some of the best in the country in these age groups," Ryan said. "Some of them are going to be national team players so we're very excited to be bringing this calibre of event to Manitoba."
There will be 18 teams in the under-19 division, including the host Terminators and South Interlake Phillies (Manitoba 1) and Winnipeg Lightning (Manitoba 2).
The under-16 division will have 14 teams from six provinces, including the host Terminators 95s, Manitoba Angels (Manitoba 1) and Winnipeg Lightning (Manitoba 2).
"We've trained enough and we are well-prepared for this (nationals), both offensively and defensively," said under-16 third baseman Haley Studler, who is also a member of Manitoba's provincial team which is competing in Kamloops this week at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games.
"We're expecting B.C. and Ontario to be tough opponents. But I think our pitching and defence are our strong points and our hitting has come a long way."