When Stu Goodman heard one of his players was going to go on stage, in front of hundreds of strangers, and belt out a song as part of a talent show, the fastpitch coach was a little bit surprised when he found out who was doing this voluntarily.
But Kayla MacGillivary signed up for the Langley Has Talent and the 16-year-old made it through to the quarter-final round.
Altogether, 100 performers took part in the talent contest.
“It certainly did take us by surprise,” Goodman said about the coaching staff of the Fraser Valley Fusion 95 bantam fastpitch team finding out one of their players was taking the stage.
“She is actually a very quiet girl and kind of a shy girl when you meet her.
“We thought it was outstanding she was entering the contest.”
“She is fairly reserved until you get to know her, but when she opens up, she is fantastic,” he added.
MacGillivary is proving to be multi-talented.
In addition to her singing — the 16-year-old has taken lessons for the past three years — MacGillivary is proving adept on the ball diamond as well.
“I enjoy both,” she said. “And they both require lots of practice.
“And if you don’t practice, you usually aren’t very good.”
When it comes to her singing, MacGillivary has a preference for country, although she has no problem singing other genres. She also sang in her school’s concert choir this past year.
But right now, her focus is squarely on the ball diamond.
Having played ball since she was six years old, MacGillivary progressed to the rep level when she was 10.
“My parents just put me in the game, and it was just something I was better at than, say soccer,” she explained.
For the past three years, she has played in the Fusion program, usually at first base or in right-field.
Goodman likes her versatility, as MacGillivary has the ability to use her speed at the top of the line-up, or drop down to the middle of the order and hit for power.
“Pound for pound, she is one tough kid,” Goodman said.
“She has evolved every year,” he added.
“And she is very driven, very demanding of herself.
“(Kayla) is not the type of kid you ever have to light a fire under their butt because she is very self-driven.”
“Her drive comes from inside her, you don’t need to find external motivation.”
Goodman will be counting on that drive as the Fusion get ready for their second crack at the Scotiabank Canadian Open fastpitch championships, which begin on Saturday (July 9) and run until July 17.
The Fusion are in the Showcase Gold division of the prestigious tournament, which comes every July to Softball City.
“I thought it was really neat,” MacGillivary said about the experience.
“I had never played in an event like that before, with so many people around.
“It was a really cool experience.”
The tournament always draws well with national teams from around the world playing in the top division.
It is always well attended, which can add some nerves for the young players.
But for MacGillivary, this is nothing new.
“It wasn’t really nerve-wracking for me,” she explained.
“Because after standing in front of 500 people and singing, nothing can really scare you much after that.”
Goodman also likes his team’s chances.
Last year was the Fusion’s first at the bantam level, and despite playing against second-year bantam players, the Fusion lost in the semifinal game.
“As a first-year team, we battled all the way to the semifinals, so this year, our goal is to win that game so we can get to the finals and play for all the marbles,” he said.
This tournament will serve as a precursor to the provincial championships later this month.
The Fusion are hoping to secure a spot at the national championships, which will be played in August in Winnipeg.
Two years ago, at the peewee level in their first season under the Fraser Valley banner, the team placed third at provincials and fourth at nationals.