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Three teams, coaching, plus a try at the nationals for Kings County fastpitcher


ST. CROIX - Justin Schofield’s pitch looks like something out of a kung fu film.

He leans back, winds up his arm, leaps and throws. The ball whizzes by with a crack in the catcher mitt.

Schofield said he’s been developing that pitch now for years.

“I played right here in St. Croix for the West Hants Minor Ball Association since I was 12 years old,” Schofield said. “Before that, I was playing softball where I’m from, in White Rock, when I was five.”

For Schofield, ball is a life-long passion.

“I just always loved the competitive nature of it. As we get older, most of the leagues we play in are for fun,” he said. “But this game is so fast and tense that if you’re not on your toes all the time, it’ll take you by storm.”

 

Passion for playing

He’s currently the pitcher and coach of the White Rock Rockies in the Shooters Restaurant and Lounge Fastpitch League. He also serves as a pitcher with the East Hants Mastodons at the Canadian Championships and with travelling members of the Toronto Gators in the International Softball Congress circuit. That’s three leagues — and he’s also trying out to be on the Team Canada for the Fastpitch World Championships in 2017.

The tryouts for the national team were in Kitchener, Ontario from June 2–5, which included fitness testing, squad games and evaluations. His performance will be evaluated for the rest of the summer. Schofield will know whether or not he’s on the team by this winter or early 2017.

“I have work to do, there’s no doubt about that; if I just assume I’m going to make it, it’s not going to happen,” he said. “I’m confident that I have the ability to do it, I just have to commit to it. I’d love to be there to represent my country at the world championships.”

Schofield said he takes every game seriously, putting a lot of pride into what he does, including with the White Rock Rockies.

“This is huge for me because there’s 15 guys here who probably wouldn’t have a chance to play ball if it wasn’t for this league and this team,” he said. “I want to have kids someday who will hopefully play this game and if we don’t continue to promote and develop it, then my kids won’t be able to play this game because it’s a dying sport.”

 

On the field

The Rockies played their season-opener on June 9, defeating the Halifax Pepper Jacks 5-0.

“My fitness level is the biggest thing that coaches of the national team have expressed concern about,” he said. “Stamina, to go with that, it’s about having more longevity. The better shape I’m in, the longer my career will last.”

The 26-year-old is hoping to get another 10 to 15 years out of the sport.

Schofield does know one thing: he can throw the ball hard.

“If I can control it and make it move on my good days then things go well,” he said. “Like anybody, I have my bad days too, but that’s why we practice.”

Participating in three leagues is a lot to manage, he admits.

“I’ll be busy,” he said.  “I have a hard enough time keeping track of where I am.”

Between the start of the season in June and Labour Day, Schofield is expecting to play at least 70 games.

“It takes a toll, you just have to take it one weekend at a time, one game at a time, one inning at a time,” he said. “I have to take it one thing at a time.”

 

Dynamic duo

Tyler Whynot, a teammate and personal friend of Schofields, has been playing ball with him since they were kids.

“We’ve played together since we were about 12 or 13 years old,” Whynot said. “We each started out around the age of four.”

Whynot is the catcher with the White Rock Rockies and is often on the receiving end of Schofield’s powerful pitches.

“It’s about knowing the hitters, when we can throw it,” he said. “He has three good pitches and we know we can use all three of them at any time.”

Whynot and Schofield have been working intensely on perfecting the pitching technique for the past few years.

“It’s been steady at three nights a week all winter and all summer,” he said.

Whynot went with Schofield to the world championship tryouts in Kitchener, also playing catcher.

As the two are childhood friends, it helps. Whynot was also Schofield’s best man at his wedding.

“It’s always nice to have a buddy that you work towards the same goal as,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier to have someone on the same page.”

Whynot said Schofield is able to dedicate so much time to the games because of a good support system at home.

“His commitment and his drive are incredible,” he said. “That kind of rubs off on everyone else.”

Although part of Schofield’s mind is set on the world championships in 2017, he’s also focused on his performance with the White Rock Rockies this season.

“I’m not ready for lob-ball yet. I hope I’ve still got a lot more years doing this,” Schofield said. “It’s a really competitive game and it’s just fun, I always can’t wait to get to the ballpark the next night.”

He leans back, winds up his arm, leaps and throws. The ball whizzes by with a crack in the catcher mitt.

Schofield said he’s been developing that pitch now for years.

“I played right here in St. Croix for the West Hants Minor Ball Association since I was 12 years old,” Schofield said. “Before that, I was playing softball where I’m from, in White Rock, when I was five.”

For Schofield, ball is a life-long passion.

“I just always loved the competitive nature of it. As we get older, most of the leagues we play in are for fun,” he said. “But this game is so fast and tense that if you’re not on your toes all the time, it’ll take you by storm.”

 

Passion for playing

He’s currently the pitcher and coach of the White Rock Rockies in the Shooters Restaurant and Lounge Fastpitch League. He also serves as a pitcher with the East Hants Mastodons at the Canadian Championships and with travelling members of the Toronto Gators in the International Softball Congress circuit. That’s three leagues — and he’s also trying out to be on the Team Canada for the Fastpitch World Championships in 2017.

The tryouts for the national team were in Kitchener, Ontario from June 2–5, which included fitness testing, squad games and evaluations. His performance will be evaluated for the rest of the summer. Schofield will know whether or not he’s on the team by this winter or early 2017.

“I have work to do, there’s no doubt about that; if I just assume I’m going to make it, it’s not going to happen,” he said. “I’m confident that I have the ability to do it, I just have to commit to it. I’d love to be there to represent my country at the world championships.”

Schofield said he takes every game seriously, putting a lot of pride into what he does, including with the White Rock Rockies.

“This is huge for me because there’s 15 guys here who probably wouldn’t have a chance to play ball if it wasn’t for this league and this team,” he said. “I want to have kids someday who will hopefully play this game and if we don’t continue to promote and develop it, then my kids won’t be able to play this game because it’s a dying sport.”

 

On the field

The Rockies played their season-opener on June 9, defeating the Halifax Pepper Jacks 5-0.

“My fitness level is the biggest thing that coaches of the national team have expressed concern about,” he said. “Stamina, to go with that, it’s about having more longevity. The better shape I’m in, the longer my career will last.”

The 26-year-old is hoping to get another 10 to 15 years out of the sport.

Schofield does know one thing: he can throw the ball hard.

“If I can control it and make it move on my good days then things go well,” he said. “Like anybody, I have my bad days too, but that’s why we practice.”

Participating in three leagues is a lot to manage, he admits.

“I’ll be busy,” he said.  “I have a hard enough time keeping track of where I am.”

Between the start of the season in June and Labour Day, Schofield is expecting to play at least 70 games.

“It takes a toll, you just have to take it one weekend at a time, one game at a time, one inning at a time,” he said. “I have to take it one thing at a time.”

 

Dynamic duo

Tyler Whynot, a teammate and personal friend of Schofields, has been playing ball with him since they were kids.

“We’ve played together since we were about 12 or 13 years old,” Whynot said. “We each started out around the age of four.”

Whynot is the catcher with the White Rock Rockies and is often on the receiving end of Schofield’s powerful pitches.

“It’s about knowing the hitters, when we can throw it,” he said. “He has three good pitches and we know we can use all three of them at any time.”

Whynot and Schofield have been working intensely on perfecting the pitching technique for the past few years.

“It’s been steady at three nights a week all winter and all summer,” he said.

Whynot went with Schofield to the world championship tryouts in Kitchener, also playing catcher.

As the two are childhood friends, it helps. Whynot was also Schofield’s best man at his wedding.

“It’s always nice to have a buddy that you work towards the same goal as,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier to have someone on the same page.”

Whynot said Schofield is able to dedicate so much time to the games because of a good support system at home.

“His commitment and his drive are incredible,” he said. “That kind of rubs off on everyone else.”

Although part of Schofield’s mind is set on the world championships in 2017, he’s also focused on his performance with the White Rock Rockies this season.

“I’m not ready for lob-ball yet. I hope I’ve still got a lot more years doing this,” Schofield said. “It’s a really competitive game and it’s just fun, I always can’t wait to get to the ballpark the next night.”

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