Abbie Eisenhawer is following in familiar footsteps.
Eisenhawer is one of the top young two-sport athletes in the province, competing in curling and softball, following a similar route taken by Jocelyn Peterman, who is second with provincial ladies curling champion Chelsea Carey and a former Alberta and Canadian junior champion. Peterman is also an outstanding softball player.
Eisenhawer, who turned 16 on Monday, knows all there is to know about Peterman but is making her own mark on the sports scene. She is one of the top pitchers at her age class in the city while also playing second base and occasionally the outfield. In curling she is third on the Holly Vincent juvenile team.
Abbie became involved in softball when she was six and curling when she was seven. She started curling in the Little Rocks program and consistently moved up.
“In my second or third year I started playing third and loved it,” she said. “I like sweeping and helping Holly as much as I can … talking about the strategy of the game.”
Eisenhawer and second Erica Watts have been together since the start with Vincent first joining the team then lead Caitlyn Craig, who attends Delburne High School.
The team, including Eisenhawer and Watts, has qualified for the Southern Alberta bantam championships in 2013 and 14 and finished fourth at juvenile Southern championships in 2014.
“At the beginning we were underage at the bantam level … we lost a lot,” said the Grade 10 Hunting Hills student with a laugh.
But they have consistently improved and despite playing against much older teams won the Ray Kingsmith Memorial Bonspiel in Calgary on Dec. 30. They tried to qualify for the Southern Alberta junior championship, but lost in the B final.
They look to qualify for the provincial juvenile championships, March 4-6 in Lacombe.
The fact the team has been together for a few years is a definite advantage, says Eisenhawer.
“We know each other and each others strengths and weaknesses. We know what to say.”
Abbie, and her teammates, work with the Alberta Sports Development Centre — Central has allowed her to work on the mental and physical side of the sport.
“We learned to be mentally tough and how to fight back,” she said. “As well we’re a lot stronger and can drag and rock almost as far the guys. We also have the stamina. As for myself I like the heavy weight shots and the strategy of the game.
Abbie believes spending the summer on the softball mound helps her on the ice.
“I believe it helps the mental side for sure,” she said.
Abbie has helped Red Deer Rage win the mite A and squirt A softball provincial titles in 2010 and 2012 respectively. She was with the peewee B team that finished second in 2013 and the peewee A squad that won the provincials and the Western Canadians in 2014.
She played with the 16 and under B team last season and will compete for the 16U A team this year.
“Every second year we have practically the same team and should be strong again,” she said.
Eisenhawer likes pitching, although she is willing to play where she’s needed.
“I’m OK of a hitter,” she said.
Eisenhawer sees herself continuing to play both sports for as long as possible, but doesn’t have a plan yet what she will do after high school.
“I don’t really know yet, but I do know I will continue to play both sports.”
This year she will concentrate on the juvenile curling playdowns but next year wants to qualify for the junior provincials. She will worry about softball once summer arrives.