The Lloydminster under-18 Liners will be relying on a quick top and bottom of the batting order to play a big part toward their quest for a national championship.
Justice Loehndorf, a 17-year-old left-fielder from Turtleford, said the ninth spot in the order has typically been her turn at the plate this season.
She said her focus at bat is to take the opposing pitcher deep into the count before hitting a hard ground ball between second and third base.
“I’m a slapper,” said Loehndorf. “I start moving before the ball gets to me, so I can get a good lead on the run because I’m fast.”
The Liners speed on the basepaths is hoped to help get the team to the final game of the 2017 U18 Women’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championships, that will be played at Legion Ball Park from July 31 to Aug. 6.
Running out ground balls and stealing bases once on is the hallmark of these hitters.
Liners left-fielder Payton Sand usually comes to the plate a spot of two before Loehndorf.
The 16-year-old McLaughlin product said her bread and butter is fastballs, but a ton of work in the batters cage on changeups and rise balls has helped her become a more well-rounded hitter.
“I’ve improved over the years,” said Sand. “I’m more aware of different pitches and knowing what there is. I’m adjusting to different types of pitches.”
Jayden Souchotte hits second in the order.
She said her job is to get consistently on base through running out hard-hit ground balls, before using her base running skills to steal a bag or two and get into a position to score.
“Our team is really smart at base running,” said Souchotte, an 18-year-old recent Holy Rosary High School graduate. “Usually we know if the catcher’s scrambling. We’ll be ready to go, so we take hard leadoffs.”