There’s a special gratification that comes with an athlete’s move onto a larger stage than that which they’re used to. That gratification has started to sink in for Dakoda Whitten who has been selected to be part of a B.C. boys softball team at this year’s Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops.
The softball schedule will be completed in week-one of the games, played from August 6-9.
The 15-year-old Dakoda welcomes the challenge of representing his province, not to mention the excitement involved with meeting and bonding with a new set of teammates and the travel to the Interior to compete.
Dakoda is sold on the diamond sport, having played since the age of five. He’s part of a fastball culture in Sooke that has been well documented.
It’s unfortunate the sport doesn’t enjoy more wide-spread popularity, but for whatever reason or reasons it lags behind other team sports.
What remain consistent with the sport, however, are the high skill level and strong spectator appeal – something obviously understood by summer games organizers.
Dakoda plays second base and shortstop and loves the action and responsibility that come with the positions, “The controller of the infield, he calls the shortstop, “you have to be on your toes 24/7.”
He feels more than capable of contributing with his bat as well, pointing to his out-of-Art Morris Park home run at the age of 13. As far as he’s aware he was the youngest to execute such a feat.
He’s the youngest guy on the B.C. squad and the only one from Sooke. There are a couple of guys from Langford as well.
Success and recognition are not exactly new to young Whitten as he’s suited up for BC Summer Games duty with a zone 6 group in the past – a stepping stone for the current commitment. He says making this team is his proudest achievement to date.
His versatility shows through by his membership on the local district cup-winning U15 soccer team.
Coach Jim Ullock was emailed for comment on the young Sooke ballplayer, and forwarded the Sooke News Mirror’s request to manager Kevin J. Weir who provided the following response last week:
“Team BC held two tryout camps; one in Chilliwack last September and the other in Cloverdale this past March. Boys from throughout B.C. were invited to attend through their various associations.
“Dakoda stood out as an athlete of interest. Dakoda has extraordinary speed, hits well and plays solid defence. He was later scouted and selected as a finalist earlier this month. We have a team of athletes who are versatile and can fill any role necessary. We expect Team BC to do well at the games in Kamloops.”
Making this BC select outfit sets the stage for Dakoda’s next big goal – a successful tryout in three years with the Canadian U19 team. He can visualize it now and says he will work his hardest to make the goal a reality.
Between now and then he’s got midget ball and the McDonald Park League to keep him progressing.