Growing up on the north shore of the Bay of Islands, Nick Park found a second home when he discovered the softball diamond.
It was an outlet for him to have fun with his friends and keep himself busy in a community where there wasn’t a lot of athletic activity available for youth to enjoy.
Park, in his final year of high school, will be gunning for gold this weekend when the Templeton Academy Tigers compete in the 2018 provincial 3A boys slo-pitch softball championship in softball hotbed Placentia.
Communities on the north shore have produced some great softball players over the past 30 years. It seemed like everybody who had a glove got involved with the sport and were pretty handy with a bat in their hand and scooping up grounders seemed to be a knack for those who hit the diamond with their friends.
“There’s really nothing else to do across the bay so we spend all of our time at the ballfield really,” Park said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re there pretty well every day hitting the ball around or doing something.”
Park would love to finish up his high school days with a provincial softball championship. The game means a lot to his buddies and he believes they have a team that contend with the big boys this year, so he has high expectations.
One year ago, the boys had to settle for silver after losing to Roncalli High in the final, but Park is confident gold is within grasp for his squad this time around.
It’s his fifth and final chance at bringing home the championship banner so it’s safe to say he’s excited about getting on the field.
“It would be the biggest thing ever,” he said when asked what it would mean to win the tournament.
His days of banging around the softball have been fun times. It can only get better with a gold medal dangling around his neck and he’s ready to take his swings to make it happen.