BY SOREN ELSAY
For grade 11 Windermere student Claire Fergusson, a love affair with the game that started at age five has now turned into a personal mission to play softball at the college level in the United States. After getting her start playing baseball in the Trout Lake Little League program, Fergusson switched over to softball at age nine and has been playing ever since.
This past fall Fergusson made the prestigious Synergy travel team in Maple Ridge, which focuses on providing young players exposure to college scouts.
“The Synergy team travelled to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Houston, in October and November, to showcase local talents whose teams don’t usually travel as much,” explains Fergusson.
Most of the year, however, Fergusson can be found playing for the White Rock Renegades, training year-round, practising up to three days a week. On top of team practices, Fergusson works out once a week on a strength-and-conditioning program (set up by fitness trainer and former college softball player Jill Munro) with the aspiration to one day receive a scholarship to play in the United States.
Like most young athletes, one of Fergusson’s main priorities is to get stronger.
“I’d like to work on upper-body strength mostly,” says Fergusson. “I’m currently working on getting more power hitting right-handed and throwing.”
On top of that, Fergusson is currently perfecting the art of switch hitting, meaning being able to bat both left handed and right handed when called upon. More specifically, she is working on becoming a left-handed “slapper.”
“A left-handed slapper usually just tries to put the ball in play and then beat the throw [to first base] because you can run to first quicker [rather than the right-handed side of the plate],” Fergusson explains. “A lot of the time it screws up the defensive players because they have to always be guessing where [the batter] is going to put the ball.”
This would only add to the repertoire of an already versatile player who can play shortstop, centre field, pitcher and, because of her quickness, usually bats leadoff.
But the physical side of the game is not even her greatest strength, according to Fergusson.
“I think well on my feet, so when I am put in a situation I can make that snap, tenth-of-a-second decision and just go with it,” she says.
This sharpness of the mind is not only confined to the diamond. Claire is currently taking a full academic course load with the intentions of studying kinesiology and physiotherapy while at university. When asked about how she handles this enormous workload to go along with her training, Fergusson claims self-discipline is key.
“Just being able to lay a schedule out and follow it is the biggest thing,” Fergusson says.
Quite the humble athlete, Fergusson points out that she would not be in the position that she is without the support of those around her, particularly her parents and coaches.
With her natural athleticism and smarts to go along with an uncommon work ethic, Fergusson is primed to achieve anything she puts her mind to. Her current mindset is following her dream: attend college in the U.S. while playing the game she loves.
Soren Elsay is a Langara student and an aspiring journalist.
Let’s Play Ball!
Spring is just around the corner. Time to start thinking about signing up your kids to play baseball or softball.
Vancouver Minor Softball Association. Girls softball. http://vmsa.ca/index.php
Trout Lake Little League. Baseball for boys and girls. http://troutlakebaseball.wordpress.com/
Vancouver Minor Baseball. Plays out of Nanaimo Park. http://www.vancouverminorbaseball.com/. February tryout dates.
Burnaby Minor Softball Association. Girls softball. http://www.burnabysoftball.org/divisions.php
Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News