Two Moose Jaw Under-17 Ice teammates will have the opportunity to represent their province at the upcoming Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ont. in August.
Outfielder Makena Simmons and pitcher Katie Newberry were among the 15 players whose names were called last week as Softball Saskatchewan announced their roster for the women’s fastball team at the games.
“When I first found out it was a pretty big deal,” says Newberry. “We went through in a line and they told us whether or not I made it or not, and when I got the news that I made it, I was in complete shock.”
Newberry notes that the first person she called following the big news, was her dad.
Simmons had a similar reaction to her teammate, especially since she is the youngest of the age group.
“Really exciting and a little shocking too because of all the talent that comes out of this province and who we were competing against,” adds Simmons. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event as I will age out after this year, so I will never be able to play in it again.”
The duo went through a rigorous evaluation process to make the team over the past year, which was filled with an intense training regimen, countless games, and tournaments against one another, and competing against the top female fastball players in the province.
Being a pitcher – which is one of the hardest positions to play in women's fastball, Newberry says she went up against some very tough competition.
“You have to control the game the whole time. I, fortunately, made Team Sask with a girl who just made Team Canada, which is very exciting,”
The two are more than just teammates, they are best friends, as they have been playing ball together since they were 12 years old, which makes this moment even more special for them both.
“She’s one of my best friends. It was so exciting finding out that we both made the team, for me especially. It was just so cool to have someone that you’re that close with to make the team with you and play at such a high level,” explains Simmons.
“She is my best friend, so going through this with her is very exciting. All the hours we’ve put in and all the practices have finally paid off,” notes Newberry.
While in Ontario for the games the two will be able to be spectators at many other events and cheer on their fellow provincial teammates as the top athletes from all across the country will be taking part in the event.
Leading up to the Canada Summer Games the duo will be very busy as they will continue to play for their U-17 Ice team, as well as continue to train and practice with Team Saskatchewan. Simmons and Newberry will be taking part in the Canada Cup Women’s International Softball Championship as part of Team Sask in Surrey, BC, from June 20-26.
Team Sask will be playing in Group A, and will kick off the event on August 7, against Nova Scotia, followed by games against Prince Edward Island, and Manitoba on August 8, and will conclude the round-robin on August 9 against BC.