Eastman, Interlake combine to field U19 softball team
The colours on the jersey may be the same, the home games are still in Friedensfeld, but the region’s U19 Manitoba Premier Softball League team has a distinctly different feel to it.
Eastman and Interlake players have combined forces to field a team in the four-team league, which gives athletes a chance to continue to play high-level ball after aging out of the U17 ranks.
Double the teams play at the U17 level, including the Interlake Phillies and Eastman Wildcats. For many players, the U19 level is the last local stop on their softball journey, as they are recruited by post-secondary schools to play softball.
The Eastman program sent their first athlete south last year, as Dominique ‘Domo’ Tétrault suited up for Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis. Tétrault is playing on the Eastman Phillies team this year.
One of the players wearing a black and green Phillies jersey is Maryn Jones, who is from Warren and is aiming to pick up a scholarship to continue playing high level ball.
“It’s nice to have a team, because there hasn’t been many teams,” Jones said.
“Just being able to play at 18-years-old is pretty cool… It’s common now to go somewhere (to play college softball).”
She had two hits in the opening game of a double-header against the Central Energy May 20.
“I love it,” Jones said of playing on the combined team.
“I get to play with all my friends. Even though it’s a little bit of a drive, I think it’s a great year for us.”
The Phillies are looking for their first win of the season, but that isn’t stopping the team from aiming high.
“These (games) are just about getting our groove on,” Jones said, noting the team is hoping to perform well at provincials, and hopefully move on to nationals.
The Eastman Phillies will next play in Friedensfeld June 12. They’ll also host games at Quarry Park June 10 and June 17. The team will be participating in the President’s Tournament in Saskatoon alongside the U15 Wildcats this weekend.
Last weekend, the U13 and U17 teams headed to Omaha for the Queen of the Diamonds tournament, with the U17 team winning the championship.