By Larry Moko, Special to The News
Digging in for her first appearance at the plate against the Bishop Ryan Celtics on Wednesday, slo-pitch sensation Aspen Searle of the Bishop Tonnos Titans socked a two-run triple to the gap in left-centre field at Mohawk Sports Complex.
In her second at bat, Searle lined another two-run triple to the fence in left-centre.
Ditto for her third plate appearance – a triple to right that drove in two more runs.
And guess what she did her fourth time in the batter’s box? Yep, another two-run triple.
But that last three-bagger came in the bottom of the fifth inning and it lifted Bishop Tonnos to a 13-2 mercy rule victory over the Celtics.
It was the opening game of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association slo-pitch season for the three-time defending champions from Tonnos.
“On two of the four times that she rolled into third, I probably could have sent her (home) to challenge the cutoff’s arm,” Titans coach Mark Marini said. “But I know she doesn’t care about home runs.”
Searle, a four-year veteran with the Titans, also stood out defensively. She caught a fly ball and, on one other occasion from her position as a rover outfielder, gathered in a ground ball to force a runner out at second base.
“She’s fabulous,” Marini said. “It’s been really special to watch her play.”
The experience gained from participating at an elite level of girls’ softball in Ontario made Searle such a star in HWCAA slo-pitch. The 18-year-old has already competed at a handful of Ontario and Canadian age-group championship tournaments.
Next month, in Brampton, she’ll try out for the Canadian national junior squad.
This will be Searle’s final year at Tonnos. In August, she’ll begin an NCAA softball scholarship at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” Searle said of her commitment to the Bowling Green Falcons. “I’m excited. I just want to improve as much as I can. I’m ready to bring my game up to the next level.”
Searle, who hopes to eventually earn a spot on the senior national team and play in the Olympics, was named the all-star second baseman at the 2012 Under 18 Canadian championships.
Bowling Green coach Shannon Salsburg stated on the school’s website. “Aspen is an excellent addition to our softball family. She is a tenacious player who will compete right away in the middle infield.
Aspen always plays the game hard and her softball IQ is outstanding. Aspen has competed at the highest level in Canada. I look forward to watching her grow and develop here at Bowling Green.”