By Laura Lennie, News Staff
The head coach of the Stoney Creek Jays girls softball squad says he couldn’t be more proud of his players’ performance on the diamond so far this season in the Flamborough Minor Softball Association.
“Their improvement has been incredible,” Al Zamprogna said. “They are a great group of girls. They play well together, cheer each other on and have fun with one another, all the while maintaining focus.”
The Jays batted their way to only one victory last year and finished last in the association’s squirt division, which also includes Ancaster, Dundas, Lynden, Sheffield, St. George and Waterdown squads.
The team got off to a slow start this season, but picked up its game halfway through the schedule, scoring five consecutive wins.
Zamprogna said three new coaches, the growth of returning players and the addition of some key new players all have contributed to the Jays’ development this year.
“The continuous improvement of our four pitchers also is helping,” he said. “We are outhitting every team we play – sometimes 14 to two. We are much better defensively, but not overworked as the other teams rarely swing the bat. Our girls swing at everything and benefit from it.”
The Jays had a 6-6-1 record and held fourth place going into their last game of the regular season tonight (Thursday) against second-place Lynden. Results of the matchup were unavailable at press deadline.
Zamprogna said the squad was feeling “confident” heading into the game, despite its two losses July 17 and 16 to St. George and Waterdown.
“We’re feeling good,” he said. “We were off a bit in the games against St. George and Waterdown and didn’t have the spark we normally have. We also were missing some of our leaders and more experienced players, but we’ll be fully stocked with all of our weapons when we play Lynden.”
The Jays will begin their playoff run Tuesday, Aug. 5 or Wednesday, Aug. 6
The date will depend on their final placing at the end of the regular season.
Zamprogna said the squad “absolutely” has what it takes to win the championship this year.
“We’re going to be working on a few things heading into the home stretch,” he said. “We have a pretty good mix of skill and talent. If we can throw strikes regularly, hit in a disciplined way and play good defence, I think we will be hard to beat.”
The Jays are made up of 12 players ages 12 and under and play all of their home games at the Binbrook Fairgrounds.
The squad is the only girls softball team in Stoney Creek.
Zamprogna said he wants to see more teams for players of all ages.
“We want to get more girls involved in softball because it’s such a great sport in so many ways,” he said. “It’s a fantastic way to be active, learn important life skills and make new friends. We want to get those numbers up and show the people of Stoney Creek just how fun softball can be.”
For more information on the girls softball program, call Al Zamprogna at 905-643-7592 or visit www.stoneycreeklittleleague.com.