Canada’s national softball team team prepares for Olympic bid

WBSC Softball America’s Qualifier begins Sunday in South Surrey

The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team warmed up Friday at Softball City for next week’s WBSC Softball Americas Qualifier tournament.

And while high performance director/head coach Mark Smith asserted that “the process is that it’s business as usual,” there was still a palpable sense of excitement in the air at the prospect the team could win a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad.

Hopes are particularly high after the team’s silver medal performance at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, which included a perfect game against Venezuela (10 strikeouts without a single base-runner) pitched by White Rock’s Sara Groenewegen.

READ MORE: Olympic berths on line as Suth Surrey softball qualifier set to begin

“This is the most important softball tournament on Canadian soil,” tournament spokesperson Laura Ballance told reporters.

“We’re pleased to note that Team Canada is entering it ranked number one in the tournament and number three in the world. We’re very hopeful that this is a path to Tokyo and a gold medal.”

“In my opinion this is the best (women’s national softball) team in Canadian history,” Tournament chair Greg Timm added.

READ MORE: Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

Smith told Peace Arch News that there was no one game in the tournament the team is looking forward to playing more than the others.

“We’re keen to meet Puerto Rico again (Canada won 3-1 over the team in Lima) and also Venezuela and Mexico,” he said. “I’ve learned never to underestimate anybody. In softball one team can be having a bad day, and another can be playing their best game ever.”

Timm and Ballance pointed out that seven out of the 15 current team members are from B.C.

In addition to former White Rock Renegade star Groenewegen – who fought back to stage an impressive comeback after being hospitalized with Legionnaire’s disease (a severe form of pneumonia) last year – these players include former Renegade teammate Danielle Lawrie (who came out of retirement to contribute to the team’s bid for the Olympics) and Cloverdale’s Holly Speers.

The 12-team tournament starts with 7:30 p.m. game between Canada and Cuba on Sunday (Aug. 25), and will conclude with a “super round” (Aug. 30 to Sept. 1) to determine from among the teams the top two that will compete at the XXXII Olympic games.

Softball City is located at 2201 148 St. For more information, visit the local tournament website at americassoftballqualifier.com

Just Posted

Lord Tweedsmuir cruises to big playoff win

Panthers down the W.J. Mouat Hawks 57-7, advance to quarterfinal game

White Rock to ‘embark on a new direction’ for city’s management

Dan Bottrill has been the city’s chief administrative officer since 2012

‘Slight’ arsenic increase noted in White Rock water: city

Challenges in plant commissioning cited, testing underway

Coastal FC Walking Soccer program takes first steps

South Surrey recreation program held weekly at BMO Coastal Soccer Centre

Thousands attend Remembrance Day ceremony in Cloverdale

Veterans, politicians, Surrey residents lay wreaths at cenotaph

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Most Read