Five local softball players are set to swing for the fences in Texas.
Teammates Hallie Holland, Lauren Thomas, Carmen Eilertsen, Zoe Lott and Ali Henderson will attend Grayson College in Denison, Texas on scholarships this year. The five friends, all members of the Victoria Devils U19 softball team, earned silver medals at the provincial championship that took place on July 20 to 21 at Softball City in Surrey.
Saanich resident Eilertsen, who pitches and plays in the outfield, graduated from Lambrick Park in 2018 and attended Grayson College last year.
Holland, also from Saanich, graduated from Lambrick Park Secondary this year. She plays third base and catcher, while pitcher/outfielder Lott graduated from St. Michael’s and is from Saanich as well. Colwood resident Thomas graduated from Royal Bay Secondary this year and plays catcher and third base. Henderson, a Langford resident, plays second base and shortstop.
“I am extremely excited to fulfil my longtime softball dreams,” said Henderson, who graduated from Belmont Secondary in June. “To receive a scholarship to attend Grayson College and play the game of softball is truly a dream come true. The major bonus is being able to join four of my Devils teammates. It’s extremely rare that five players from Victoria end up on the same college team. We’ve played together for many years in countless tournaments on Vancouver Island, the mainland and in the U.S., and we’re all looking forward to playing together in the next chapter of our softball careers.”
The team’s head coach, Kevin Bobroske, said although he’s seen a lot of players earn scholarships to U.S. schools, this is the first time it’s happened for five players from the same team.
“What an opportunity it is for them to share the experience together,” Bobroske noted. “I think the positive chemistry they’ve developed on the field will be a huge benefit to Grayson. Having five head to the same school says a lot about the quality of players that play with the Devils.”
Bobroske, a player with Canada’s gold medal team at the Pan-American Games in 1999, has coached for 20 years, including six years with the University of Victoria’s women’s team. He praised the efforts of Rocky Vitale, director of the baseball and fastball academies at Lamrick Park Secondary. “He’s been instrumental in helping determine where players will fit in best with schools across the U.S.,” Bobroske explained. “Almost all of the graduating players from the U19 team that won gold three years ago have landed scholarships at a variety of U.S. schools. It’s a big stepping stone for moving onto the NCAA, and a lot of that is made possible by Rocky.”