Sports

Taila standing tall on the softball mound

By Don Fennell

Published 2:11 PDT, Wed May 29, 2019

Last Updated: 3:47 PDT, Tue July 2, 2019

Taila Cranston loves hanging out with friends, lounging around during the summer, and listening to the current wave of pop music. Oh, and she’s still stoked about having just attended her first-ever concert—starring one of the world’s top contemporary recording artists, Ariana Grande—with her dad.

Taila Cranston loves hanging out with friends, lounging around during the summer, and listening to the current wave of pop music. Oh, and she’s still stoked about having just attended her first-ever concert—starring one of the world’s top contemporary recording artists, Ariana Grande—with her dad.

In most respects then, a typical pre-teen. Except on the ball diamond.

Pitching for two teams this season, Cranston is like a hired gun from the days of the Old West or Jonah Hex from the DC Universe. And she relishes the opportunity to make her way to the pitching mound with the game on the line.

“I go where I am needed the most,” explains the 11-year-old, who is throwing this season for both the Tigers and Lions in the Richmond Girls Softball Association.

Already a five-year veteran in Richmond Girls Softball, Cranston is pitching perfect innings and winning games for both under-12 teams. At Richmond’s annual season-opening invitational tournament played at Steveston-London field, she was unanimously awarded MVP honours as a Tiger, after throwing a multi-strikeout shutout inning during a victory over the Vancouver Griffins. Then in the first post-tournament league game, she closed out a win over the Delta Dragons with three strikeouts on nine pitches for the Lions.

A multi-sport athlete, the Manoah Steves Elementary student also plays spring basketball and competes in track and field. It all makes for a busy, but enjoyable athletic schedule.

“I love pitching, and base running,” Cranston says. “I also like the team atmosphere and having a great time with the other girls.”

She doesn’t remember exactly why she began playing six years ago, except that her dad signed her up “thinking I would be good at a skilled sport like softball.”

“I like being really busy in the spring, and then taking the summer off,” Cranton says. “My main team is the Tigers, but sometimes both teams need a player or a pitcher. When you pitch, all you think about is getting the batter out no matter which team it is for.”

Her becoming a pitcher was a result of wanting to keep playing softball over the winter. She began attending the association’s winter pitching clinics taught by Rob Scott.

Reflective of her philosophy to “Play for your team, play for yourself, play for parents, but most of all for the little girl in the stands that wants to be just like you,” Cranston’s goals over the next couple of seasons are to become more consistent, and to play U14 softball.

“Also, to coach younger players just starting out with my dad.”

Explains her dad, Jody Cranston: “Both the Tigers and Lions are very enthusiastic and both practice quite a bit together. The girls are all really good friends and each have about four or five girls who want to pitch, which is quite unusual.”

While the teams play at the house level, Jody says he has seen teams at this level capable of playing rep ball. But many times the girls are playing multiple sports and can’t commit to the rep schedule.

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