August 9, 2018 12:34 pm

Softball Canada returns to Napanee for U-19 championships

The Napanee Express are one of the favourites to win a gold medal at the Canadian U-19 Fastball championships

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The town of Greater Napanee is hosting the Canadian Under-19 Junior Boys Fastball championship tournament next week.

The six-day event (Aug. 14 – Aug. 19) begins next Tuesday at the Napanee Fairgrounds with 12 teams from across the country taking part.

READ MORE: Napanee will host Canadian U-19 Boys Fastball Championships

It is the second time in four years that Napanee has hosted this national competition.

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Softball Canada says Napanee is a hotbed for the sport. This will be the fifth time the town of 15,000 has hosted a Canadian championship event.

“We’re super excited,” said Napanee Express outfielder Cal Boyle.

“We’re really happy to host it this year. We’ve been preparing really hard in practice and in games to get ready for this event.”

Napanee is a gold medal favourite. They won the silver medal at last year’s tournament in Prince Edward Island and every player is back from that 2017 team.

“We’ve been all across Canada in recent years so it’s nice to have it in our own backyard,” said shortstop Kyle Weese.

“We’re expecting some big crowds to cheer us on. Napanee is a fastball town and the support will be tremendous.”

READ MORE: Softball Canada policy changing for transgender players after Edmonton coach cries foul

Weese said the team is ready to handle the pressure of being hometown favourites.

“There’s always pressure on us to succeed, so we’re used to it. I truly believe that playing in front of the home crowd boosts our energy.”

The tournament begins next Tuesday. The Napanee Express, coached by Bryan Brooks, will play their first game at 1 p.m. against Quebec.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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