They say that the western provinces have the strongest fastpitch teams in Canada.
If that’s true, then it’s players like Brendon Donegan who are making it so.
The 14-year-old pitcher from Agassiz is already chucking them across the plate at 65 miles per hour. And with skills like that, you’d think he would be on the mound through most every game. But he’s not.
When he plays within his age level, on the Chilliwack Vipers Peewee A team, it wouldn’t make for a fair and even game. So, he plays short stop, pitching only for two innings. And then there’s his other team, the Bantam A Vipers. There, he’s still throwing them above the average speed, despite being one or two years younger than his teammates.
But when he steps to mound for Team BC at the 2011 Western Canada Games, he’ll be their starting pitcher. He’ll also be the team’s youngest player, if not the youngest player in the entire competition.
Donegan cracked the roster earlier this year, following a series of rigorous tryouts to beat out players two years his senior, from across the province. And he’ll be among friends at the Games, as three other Vipers have been chosen for the 14-man team —Filip Horak, Ryan Kaplanis and Parker Hendsbee.
That would come as no surprise to those who follow the Vipers closely.
Donegan’s Bantam A team just brought home silver in the Provincials in Fleetwood, and last year they made it through the season with just one loss.
Donegan says he’s excited to be pitching in the Western Canada Games, under coach Jim Ullock.
When he tried the position three years ago, he took an instant liking to it.
“You have control of what’s happening on the field,” he says.
While Donegan used to play ball in Agassiz, there is no longer a youth team operating here. And though he loves to put on his Vipers uniform, both Donegan and his dad Jeff say they’d love to see a resurgence of local youth sports.
“Baseball is year round for us,” his dad says, and sports play an important part in their lives. Donegon competes in track and field with times comparable to national levels, and competes in sports where he goes to school, at St. Jean Brebeuf in Abbotsford.
But the teen admits that his time on the field leaves little time for any other hobbies.
“I play a lot of baseball,” he says with a smirk.
The Western Canada Games run August 5 to 10, and fans can follow Team B.C.’s progress by visiting www.softball.bc.ca.