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Barrie and District Girls Softball Association prepares for upcoming season with winter clinics

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The Barrie and District Girls Softball Association is preparing for the upcoming season.

Like many other sports, registration numbers declined severely during the pandemic, so to increase growth, the association has been hosting winter clinics to attract new athletes.

"This is our first year running this many clinics and doing it in the select and rep areas. We had a waitlist. We've got people who wanted to sign up, and we didn't have enough space. So that's a really good sign," says Dakota Moncada, a member of the Barrie Storm Growth committee.

The association has multiple house-level teams from U7-U21.

Moncada says softball is a more affordable sport.

"Especially at the house league level, there's a lot of equipment that's provided by the league. And all you need is a pair of running shoes, maybe a pair of cleats for the older kids," says Moncada.

Sarah Ropp, the U-11 Rep Assistant Coach and former professional softball player says playing the sport benefits young girls.

"Organized team sports are amazing, especially for girls. It builds self-confidence, provides a sense of accomplishment and acceptance, and is a really good social support for our girls," says Ropp.

Along with being active and learning various skills, the players say the biggest bonus is the friendships they make.

"I like a bunch of my teammates, and now I'm friends with them. We have play dates all the time," says Juniper Ryan, Barrie Storm softball player.

"I love hitting, and I love cheering my friends on because we sing lots of songs," says Aurora Caswell, Barrie Storm softball player.

Women's fastpitch is set to return to the 2028 Olympics, which is another reason Ropp is encouraging new athletes to join.

"Softball, for me, opened up so many doors, especially in the United States, for scholarships, universities, colleges in the states, Getting scouted in Canada. It's an opportunity to get your schooling paid for; even in Canada, there are scholarships," says Ropp.

The Barrie and District Girls Softball Association will continue their weekly winter clinics until April. Anyone interested in trying the sport is welcome to attend.

More details can be found here.

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