Two Sooke fastball players represent team Canada in international tournament

Dawn Gibson

Sooke News Mirror

Two local fastball players are full of excitement as they prepare to represent Canada in the 2017 Pan American Men’s Softball Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic this September.

Sooke Loggers catcher Kyle Cowick and pitcher Scott Lieph, have been playing together their entire lives, and now both are getting a chance to play for team Canada.

“We grew up together and we’re roommates now,” said Cowick. “I’ve been catching for him since we were kids, so doing it together makes it that much more special.”

The tournament runs from Sept. 15 to 24 and will feature 22 teams; the top five will qualify for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Cowick said he is happy to represent Sooke because the community has always been supportive of its athletes.

“It means a lot to move forward and represent Sooke, and not just to have one player but two players do it is pretty cool. So hopefully we play well and make everyone proud,” said Cowick. “It shows that Sooke is a hotbed for fast pitch. None of this would have been possible without the Loggers.”

Lieph agreed saying it feels good to play for Canada having grown up in Sooke.

“Sooke has a lot of great athletes. I think it’s awesome coming from such a small town and everyone gets to see a couple of local guys go represent Canada. Hopefully it will get more youth excited about playing ball,” said Lieph.

The loggers have competed against teams from New Zealand, the U.S. and Great Britain, and competed well against them all. Cowick said they defeated New Zealand in 3 out of 4 games when they came to the Island to play, and only lost to them 3-2 in extra innings when playing them in the quarterfinal of a Vancouver tournament.

“We’re right there with these national teams, and it proved that our club team can compete against just about anybody,” said Cowick.

The two players have been preparing themselves both mentally and physically as they head in to the tournament, practicing twice a week with the Loggers and working on technique in their spare time.

“It’s a constant challenge on and off the field, working on pitches and staying healthy,” said Lieph.

Both players said their goals for the championship are to qualify for the Pan Am Games, show that they can contribute to the team, and to be chosen to play for team Canada again in 2019.

“The highest honour you can have as an athlete is to play for your country,” said Cowick. “I’m just excited to put that jersey on and take it all in. It’s going to be a big learning experience.”

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