The Red Deer Games Foundation Grant is given out to athletes in the Red Deer area who are striving for excellence in their sport.
Delburne resident and former Red Deer Brave Kyle Ringdahl, 20, a two-time provincial baseball champion, four-time provincial fastball champion and a member of U21 Fastball Team Alberta at the 2017 Jeux Canada Games in Winnipeg recently received one of these grants.
“I started playing fastball about five years ago, I played hardball before that. It was quite a bit of commitment,” he explained. “I joined the HWY 21 league out of the Delburne and surrounding area and it has been two days a week every summer as far as games go. It has been non-stop fastball.”
Ringdahl described the transition from hardball (baseball) to fastball as a surprisingly difficult one.
“It is a lot quicker, everything is a lot shorter and you have less time,” he said.
“There is less room for error and it is not something you just catch on to. It takes a whole lot of time and practice to be able to get to the level I have.
“I like how intense it was. You are getting pitched at from 46 feet instead of 60 in hardball, which makes a huge difference. I found it more challenging.”
Ringdahl said his success in fastball is due in part to his want to continue succeeding after his career with the Braves.
“When I played hardball, we won Tier 2 provincials two years in a row when I was on the AAA and AA teams. We had a pretty good record and were able to win both years that I played,” he said. “I wanted to carry on that success and the U21 team takes the best players to create a provincial team.
“We won two years in a row in GP and then we won last year in Calgary.”
Ringdahl said the mentorship he has received has led directly to his success
“I came from playing rec ball in Delburne to AAA in Red Deer. I came a long ways in my AAA year,” he said.
“My biggest influence has always been my grandpa. He played 60-plus years of ball. He taught me a lot of things along the way.”
He noted the first introduction to fastball was from his uncle who said, “Everything is coming quicker and nine out of 10 times it will be coming up instead of down. You can throw a rising ball in fastball.”
Ringdahl hopes to keep playing competitively and will jump at any opportunity.
“I’m open to anything. Those provincial teams bring the best players out of the league and luckily I was good enough to be one of those players,” he said.
“They seem to be last minute things and I have been able to make the best of it. Wherever I get the opportunity to play, I would love to play.”