Another Petty Harbour Softball Player Nabs National Notice

Next week, Mitch Stack of Petty Harbour will head to Memorial University for first year studies with a plan to gain entrance into the engineering faculty. The move will follow a summer full of learning, but in a different venue.

The 18-year-old shortstop is one of 24 young softball players from across Canada invited to participate in national training camps leading up the selection of Canada’s entry in the world softball championships next summer. With exposure to high level competitors and coaching, this past month’s camp in Fredericton, New Brunswick was ripe with learning opportunities, Stack confirmed.

The camp followed the national softball championships where Stack played for Newfoundland’s Under 18 team as did his younger brother Mark, who flew back from the Under 16 nationals in Saskatchewan to bolster Newfoundland’s lineup in Fredericton. Ferryland’s Shayne Kavanagh was also on the Under 18 provincial squad.

“We gave it a good run and made it to the playoffs,” said the elder Stack, who was voted as the All Star shortstop of the tournament.

Stack greatly enjoyed the training camp for the national team. The 24 invitees roomed together at a University of New Brunswick dormitory and were bused back and forth to the playing grounds every day

“There was a lot of team building and team bonding stuff,” said Stack. The camp also featured training and instruction on defensive play, batting practice, technical instruction and games against a local senior men’s team.

“The coaches were a great group of guys,” said Stack, citing each of the three senior hands drawn from across Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan who will prepare Canada’s team for the world tournament next summer.

“They really know a lot about the game,” said Stack, who noted his game in the local intermediate and senior leagues, where he plays against fellows much older than himself, will likely improve as a result of the camp. “They give you different (game) situations and scenarios that really help you when you come home. And playing at that calibre with guys from Quebec and Ontario and Saskatchewan, who are all real good ball players, you feel more confident when you come home,” he said.

Stack and the 23 other hopefuls will gather in Kitchener, Ontario next June for another camp which will lead up to the final team selection about a month before the world championships in Michigan.

Stack tries to be a team leader when he is at the diamond, supporting each player’s efforts and keeping their spirits up. He also has enough maturity to be aware of areas of his own game that he would like to work on. “I’d like to improve on my mechanics of playing shortstop, learning a few more things to make me quicker on my feet and move faster and get more outs,” he said. The national training camps are helping with that, he acknowledged.

The start of school in September won’t mean the end of Stack’s softball training. He said he is fortunate enough to participate in winter training with well-known local softball stars Ryan and Shane Boland, Sean Cleary and others from Newfoundland’s senior men’s team. Just listening to those guys talk about aspects of the game is also an education, he said.

Article: Posted Irish Loop Post (August 25th)