Winding up for Canadian Open
A Maple Ridge outfielder will be donning the red and white of Team Canada when the national women’s team competes at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in Surrey next week, July 15-24, based at Softball City.
Larissa Franklin made the team as a regular for the first time in 2013, and was named to the squad again this summer. After the Canadian Open, the team will head for Europe for the World Championship in the Netherlands Aug. 15-24.
Franklin, who also competed for Canada at the junior women’s level, plays outfield for Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne, and speed on the basepaths and in centre field is her most obvious asset.
The softball gala also features the up-and-comers in fastpitch, and Ridge Meadows softball will be sending three teams.
Kim Brooks competed in the tournament in its first year, and the coach of the Ridge Meadows Pride 96 team still remembers it.
“It was a huge deal,” she said. “Back then, it was the Canada Cup.”
Now it is one of the top three women’s fastpitch events on the planet, and the biggest in Canada. The event is expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators over 11 days.
Her Pride players, a mix of girls born from 1996-1998, are “super excited” to be involved in an event where they get to play elite competition, and also watch some of the best women in the world compete.
Her team had a great season, but it ended at the provincials last weekend with them wondering what might have been. They came out of round-robin play as the third seed, with a 3-1 record. Their only loss was 4-3, in a game they had led. But the injury bug bit them hard, and there were only seven healthy players by the end of the tournament. They finished fifth.
There are lots of college scouts at the tournament, but they will find the Ridge grads who are available have already been spoken for.
Georgia Lagore, a great defensive outfielder, is going to Lake State Regional College in North Dakota; and Hayden Craig, who plays third base and has a good batting eye, is on her way to Olympic College in Washington state.
The Ridge Meadows Pride 96 will open on July 14 against the Nevada Lightning, and will play five games over the next four days.
The Ridge Meadows Rage 98 B team begins action on Friday against the Vancouver Wildcats, and then will play three more games on the July 12.
“They’re a really good B team, and they’ll have a shot at winning their division,” said Brooks.
The Ridge Meadows Pride 99 will play five games from the 12-14th, and have games against teams from Washington, Calgary and Saskatchewan.
“They’re a good little team too.”
For more information see Canadianopenfastpitch.com.