Team Canada head coach Mark Smith talks with his team during a game at the Canada Cup last week in South Surrey. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Team Canada head coach Mark Smith talks with his team during a game at the Canada Cup last week in South Surrey. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Schedule released for South Surrey-hosted Americas Olympic Softball Qualifier

Canadian national women’s fastpitch team to open tournament against Cuba

The schedule for next month’s 2019 Americas Olympic Softball Qualifier has been officially released.

The week-long event – set for South Surrey’s Softball City (2201 148 St.) from Aug. 25-Sept. 1 – will see 12 national teams from North, South and Central America play for two berths in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Sitting third in current women’s world softball standings, Team Canada – which recently won its second consecutive Canada Cup title – is the highest ranked team among the dozen, and will play in the qualifier’s opening game.

On Sunday, Aug. 25, at 7:30 p.m., Canada – which is in Group A – will hit the field against Cuba.

The rest of Canada’s round-robin games will be 6 p.m. starts – Aug. 26 against Argentina; Aug. 27 against Guatemala; Aug. 28 against Puerto Rico and Aug. 29 versus Bahamas.

Pool B includes Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, British Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic.

• READ ALSO: Pitcher’s comeback highlights Canada Cup for longtime tournament chair

Once the round robin wraps up, the top three teams in each of the tournament’s two groups will advance to the Super Round, which will run from Aug. 30 until Sept. 1.

The two teams at the top of the finals standings after the Super Round will gain a berth into the Olympics.

“This is a very exciting time for Canadian softball and softball in general,” said Greg Timm, the chair of the organizing committee for both the Americas qualifier and the annual Canada Cup tournament.

“We are so pleased that our national team will have opportunity to chase their Olympic dreams on home soil, in front of friends and family – and softball supporters from across the country.”

Along with men’s baseball, women’s fastpitch hasn’t been played at the Olympics since 2008 in Beijing; the two companion sports were voted out in 2005 and only reinstated in 2016. The two sports have already been voted out of the 2024 Paris-hosted Summer Olympics, but could return in time for the 2028 Games, which will be held in Los Angeles.

Surrey was selected as the host city for the Americas qualifier last January, after a protracted process that included delays from the World Baseball Softball Confederation, which governs the sport internationally. In April, the WBSC announced the official tournament draw, with the 12 teams being placed in the two pools via a random, lottery-ball system.

Wednesday afternoon at Softball City, the provincial government made a $150,000 commitment to the tournament, through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture’s ‘Tourism Events’ and ‘Major Events’ programs.

For more on the event, visit www.americassoftballqualifier.com



sports@peacearchnews.com

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