Delisle Pride to represent Saskatchewan at home for U23 fastball nationals

Click to play video: 'Delisle Pride to represent Saskatchewan at home for U23 fastball nationals'
Delisle Pride to represent Saskatchewan at home for U23 fastball nationals
WATCH: Coming just short in 2022, a gold medal is on the minds of the MMKL Delisle Pride as they are ready to host the 2023 Canadian U23 Men's fast pitch championships in Saskatoon – Aug 1, 2023

From Maymont, Vanscoy, Warman, Langham, Saskatoon and the home community of Delisle, the U23 MMKL Pride men’s softball team has been formed by players from across north-central Saskatchewan.

It’s a group of players who have either suited up together or against each other for the better part of their lives.

“You don’t even look at them as teammates,” said Pride pitcher Brayden Harris. “More so as brothers. There’s been a core group of us who have been together since I started. We were about eight or nine years old and we’ve all just kind of merged together over the years.”

Carving out a reputation as one of the top fastball teams in Saskatchewan over the last half decade, the Delisle Pride have been led by a small core of players who are chasing one collective dream of being crowned the top team in Canada.

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“It started as a group that was under age as a little squirt team and they stayed together right through,” said Pride head coach Kevin Kosmynka. “With players coming in and out I don’t even know how many players we would be going through. But our main core has stayed with us.”

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Winning that Canadian title is a goal that’s been years in the making for the Pride and come Wednesday, they’ll have a shot of a lifetime at doing so.

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The Pride are Saskatchewan’s host team for the 2023 Canadian U23 men’s fast pitch championships which will be played at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex in Saskatoon, aiming to vanquish the ghosts of past national tournaments.

From a bronze medal last year in Ontario to silver medals won back in 2016 and 2019, the Pride have come agonizingly short of a national gold medal.

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“We’ve been close for the past few nationals,” said Pride infielder and pitcher Troy Kosmynka. “We come third, second — never first, though. At home it would be a huge conquer if we won gold.”

With six graduating players from the junior level this season, the Pride know this will be their last chance as a group to be crowned Canadian champions.

“This is the last kick at the can for their junior careers,” said Kevin. “So the opportunities that they’ve gone through, some with Team Saskatchewan or Team Canada, it just brings it all together to be their own team.”

If the Pride live up to the stage ahead of them this week, a gold medal won in front of Saskatchewan supporters would be a true storybook ending to the team’s longtime core of teammates.

“That would be the absolute best prize just to top off our careers together with a gold medal around our neck,” said Troy. “I think that would be the ultimate goal and that’s kind of what we’re going there for.”

Delisle’s first game of the tournament comes on Wednesday at 1:00, taking on the Harwood Corners out of Ontario at Bob Van Impe Stadium.

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