No Three-Peat In Store For The Kent Bridge Huskies With Fastball Season On The Shelf

Kent Bridge baseball
A Huskies player waits in the outfield – Photo by Sophie Marvell/

“I think the word that most comes to mind is disappointed.”

Those of the words of Jim Roesch, who has coached the Kent Bridge Huskies women’s fastball team to back-to-back Lambton Kent Ladies Fastball League titles.

“I know that it is necessary to cancel these seasons so that we can get back to having them again sooner rather than later, but it is still disappointing. Most of the players that I coach in Kent Bridge are young ladies that I have coached for the past 13 years. I look forward to catching up with them face to face and I know that will have to wait until we can be sure that everyone will be safe in doing so.”

For the Roesch family, softball is a part of their lives, as the entire family is involved in the game, and has been involved in a variety of sports in Chatham-Kent for years.

While Roesch is disappointed the Huskies won’t have a chance to three-peat this year, for him, coaching the Huskies has been an enjoyable experience.

“”It has been a wonderful experience to be coaching out of Kent Bridge which is where I played fast pitch growing up,” he explained.

“It has been nice to win the past two years but to be honest with you it doesn’t cross my mind very often. It is definitely more about the fun that we are having. Don’t get me wrong, we are a competitive bunch. But when we are playing well and having fun, the winning seems to take care of itself. I have been blessed to coach with Jay Owen, who is a great coach and friend as well as have amazing players with great attitudes and leadership.”

Roesch has coached his three daughters, Hannah, Abigail, and Olivia in recent years, as well as his wife Jennifer. The family aspect of the game for him, has been satisfying. 

“To me, coaching all of my family members has been a very satisfying experience. I can actually say that there have been very few disagreements over the years. Jennifer, Hannah, and I talk about softball strategy all of the time. Abigail and Olivia prefer to talk basketball. I really miss those conversations. Let’s just say that we have used many a baseball analogy to help us through real life situations. Some of my best family memories have taken place on the ball diamond or just playing catch in the back yard.”

This summer, the field in Kent Bridge is quiet, much like other baseball diamonds across Chatham-Kent. While he misses the game, it’s the time with family and friends that is the true void for Roesch.

“The thing that I miss most is the camaraderie. As I have already said, most of us have been together for so long, it is like a family atmosphere. I miss the laughs and just hanging out and talking for 25-30 minutes after the games have finished. I miss seeing the faces of my players and my opponents.”

While it doesn’t appear there will be any local fastball this summer, Roesch is equally worried about the long term ramifications COVID-19 will have no the sport and league.

“My biggest fear is that some of the teams in our nine team league discover that they didn’t really miss it and don’t return next season. It already feels like softball is slowly losing players and I would hate to see such a great sport go away. Perhaps the opposite will happen and numbers will go up because players realize how much fun they missed out on. I guess that only time will tell. All I can hope for is that all are doing well and staying safe and that things get back to normal sooner rather than later.”

It goes without saying, that the Chatham-Kent community is also hoping to see public health restored, and teams like the Kent Bridge Huskies, and the rest of the Lambton Kent Ladies Fastball League get back on the field sooner than later.

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