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Friendship brings two girls together on Corner Brook softball diamond

Joey Michel plays catch with Danielle Hurley (not shown) at Ambrose O’Reilly Memorial Field Thursday afternoon. The two girls are looking forward to playing softball together this summer with the creation of the Western Newfoundland Minor Softball League.
Joey Michel plays catch with Danielle Hurley (not shown) at Ambrose O’Reilly Memorial Field Thursday afternoon. The two girls are looking forward to playing softball together this summer with the creation of the Western Newfoundland Minor Softball League.

Danielle Hurley and Joey Michel have extended their lifelong friendship to the softball diamond and the duo hope to entice other girls to come join them.

The two Corner Brook girls are excited about playing softball in the female 16U age bracket in the Western Newfoundland Minor Softball League that will be offered in pockets of the region over the summer.

The new league will offer a softball program in several west coast centres where there is volunteers in place to run them. So far, interest has been shown in St. Anthony, Corner Brook, Springdale, Baie Verte, Isle aux Morts and Port aux Basques.

Hurley, who is 16, got her first taste of competitive softball last summer when she was one of three Corner Brook girls who suited up for the Western female entry at the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games and made an instant mark in her rookie campaign in the Corner Brook women’s softball league by being named rookie of the year.

Her buddy Joey played slo-pitch softball last year at the school level and has been playing baseball for the past two years, but she opted to add softball to the list of things to do this summer.

Hurley didn’t need to do much coaxing to get her excited about a new venture with girls their own age.

The duo also plan on being teammates with defending champion Whelan’s Gate Gators in the women’s league this summer, so sharing the softball diamond is something both girls are excited about.

“It’s nice to have more players interested in playing and it’s nice to play with your own age group, too,” Hurley said Thursday while having a toss at Ambrose O’Reilly Memorial Field.

The more the merrier is the way the girls and league organizers are approaching the revitalization of the sport in this neck of the woods.

Hurley already caught the bug so she’s willing to recruit players and help them get used to playing the sport.

“Playing with the ladies in the league gave me some experience and you can take what you learn and teach the kids,” Hurley said.

Michel, a 15-year-old Level 1 student, is looking forward to it, but she’s already had a few challenges that she knows she will have to get used to.

“Just handling the ball where it’s bigger,” Michel said with a hearty chuckle.

On the bright side, Michel has found it easier to hit a softball than a baseball, so she figures she will catch on with some practice.

She hopes to have some of her friends who play baseball with her join her and she also has a few schoolmates who watched her play slo-pitch last year who said they would love to play the game when they get in high school. Now they don’t have a waiting period.

While these two girls were tossing around the ball, Zachary O’Brien showed up on the field for a catch sporting his Toronto Blue Jays jersey.

He’s going to be playing in the U12 boys division so he’s anxious to play some games.

“I’m happy to play. It’s something that I like to do and I have an interest in it,” O’Brien said.

When asked what position would he like to play, O’Brien turned around so the Star reporter could see the name on the back of his jersey — Donaldson … he wants to patrol the hot corner at third base.

Program information

—    Open practice session Saturday 12-3 p.m. at Fred Basha Memorial Park

—    Male and female division for U12 (players born 2005 or later)

—    Male and female division for U14 (players born 2003 or later)

—    Male and female division for U16 (players born 2001 or later)

League contacts

— Peggy Colbourne — 640-1175

— Kathy Lukeman — 640-8413

— Ross Crocker — 216-1314

— Cory Hurley — 640-8734

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Effort being made to revive minor softball on west coast

Joey Michel, left, and Danielle Hurley pose for a photo at Ambrose O’Reilly Memorial Field.
Zack O’Brien is one of the guys excited about the return of minor softball on the west coast. O’Brien is going to be playing in the male division for players born 2005 or later.

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