By ANDREA GUNN and DAVE KEARSEY
Bishop’s Falls native Brittany Antle had barely finished her Grade 11 final exams at Leo Burke Academy, and she was already preparing for her sport-filled summer.
This local baseball and fastpitch softball standout has been making a name for herself on the provincial and national stage this summer, and there’s not much rest for this young hitter.
“I know as soon as I get out of school, I start my training,” said Antle, adding she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s just love for the game, really.”
Most recently, Antle led the hitting parade on the Newfoundland and Labrador Midget Selects team as they captured top spot at the 2012 provincial women's softball championship, which took place in Corner Brook this weekend.
Antle slapped a brace of doubles in a 2-for-3 outing to lead the Midget Selects to a 7-0 win over the West Side Monarchs of the local women's softball circuit in the championship game Sunday at Fred Basha Memorial Park A Diamond.
Antle, a centerfielder on the young provincial squad, drove in three runs and scored on two occasions in being named the Most Valuable Player of the four-team tournament. She wielded the heavy bat for the team with a sizzling .769 batting average at a 10-for-134 clip in winning the tournament award for top batter.
Aside from leading her team to victory this past weekend, she already has an array of achievements under her belt, and it isn’t even August yet.
Antle, who also plays for her school’s volleyball team, has only been playing softball for three years and baseball for four, but already she’s got the mindset and skills of a pro.
“With softball, the part of the game that’s mental is just so advanced compared to other sports,” she said. “It’s not like you just get on the field and play, you prepare pretty much all summer, and that’s what I like.”
Antle recently returned form the Montreal Challenge Cup where she played with the NL Selects fastpitch softball team. At the tournament, she competed against 24 other teams from all over the world. In what she called a highlight of her summer, she was one of only two Newfoundlanders named to the tournament’s Team Canada during the US versus Canada all-star match, where she was awarded player of the game.
“Getting named player of the game was a big deal considering there was only a few girls picked from each team and out of all the girls on team Canada, I was picked for (the award)…it was quite an honour.
Moreover, Antle was also recently awarded the athlete of the year award for the town of Bishop’s Falls.
When the Advertiser spoke with Antle she was traveling to St. John’s to train with a team to compete in the Festival of Baseball tournament. Next Tuesday, she leaves for Nova Scotia where she will compete with the Newfoundland Selects team for the under 21 female fastpitch softball nationals.
“Then when I get back from there, I’ll spend some more time in St. John’s training again for the female baseball nationals, which starts August 23,” she said.
Though baseball and softball have a few minor differences, Antle said it’s the similarities she enjoys.
“It’s basically the same game; the mental part of the game is the same, the concepts are the same, the rules are the same. It’s just a bigger ball, and a different way of pitching it,” she said. “And I love both.”