Play ball: Elite softball action just days away

2011 Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship kicks off July 9 in Surrey.




The Surrey-North Delta Leader’s special publication on the 2011 Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship is now available online.

It is also being delivered with the Thursday, July 7 edition of The Leader (as well as The Peace Arch News and The Langley Times).

This special section contains all the information you need to enjoy elite softball action that kicks off in Surrey this weekend (July 9) and runs until July 17.

The championship takes place at three diamonds in Surrey. Softball City will be the premier destination, and games will also be played at Sunnyside Park and Cloverdale Athletic Park.

The Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch championship is one of the top three women’s fastpitch events in the world for 2011, and will feature more than 400 ball games, 1,300 athletes and 80 teams from around the world.

There will be three divisions of play – Women’s, Futures (under-19) and Showcase (under-16) – and all the International and Women’s Elite games will be held at Softball City in South Surrey.

Joining Team Canada in the Women’s International division will be top-ranked and 2010 ISF Women’s World Champion Team USA, Team Japan, Team Venezuela and Team Australia.

Canada won the Bronze medal at last year’s ISF Women’s World Championships.

In the Women’s Elite division, the host club, the White Rock Renegades, will be taking on teams from California, Venezuela, and Nanjing, China. The host Renegades will have a total of six teams taking part in the Open Championship.

British Columbia will be well-represented at this year’s championship. Joining the Renegades will be the Abbotsford Outlaws, Burnaby Oakeys, Cloverdale Fury, Delta Heat, Duncan Red Hots, Fleetwood Force, Fraser Valley Fusion, Kelowna Heat, Langley Rebels, Okanagan Elite Gold, PoCo Rage, Richmond Islanders, Ridge Meadows Pride, South Delta Invaders, Strawberry Vale Stealth, Surrey Storm and Victoria Devils.

From elsewhere in Canada, Surrey will be joined by clubs from Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as American clubs from Alaska, Arizona, California and Hawaii.

Tickets can be purchased online at CanadianOpenFastpitch.com, as well as at the parks. The action kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 9 with women’s play, as the White Rock Renegades face-off with the California As. The third-place and first-place games will be played on Saturday, July 17 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m., respectively.

On top of what will happen on the diamond, all in attendance will be treated to some special events during the festivities.

Visit the Scotiadome marquee tent for the Celebration of Softball, which offers a number of activities and exhibits for kids, parents and players.