Winning a gold medal on Canadian soil, upsetting the powerhouse U.S. Team in the championship game, and feeling the love from the raucous Canuck crowd at the Pan American Games in Toronto, is something Larissa Franklin will never forget.
“Our fans were unbelieveable,” she said. “I don’t think we give them enough credit.”
Franklin had a hit in three at bats in the gold medal game where Canada beat the U.S. 4-2. For the tournament, she hit .261 with five runs scored in eight games.
The speedy outfielder and leadoff hitter is back in Maple Ridge for a rare visit with family before heading back for her last semester at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. She will finish her psychology degree, but her playing days are behind her at the college level.
The Games were a highlight of her career so far. She has been to the junior and senior world softball championships, but the multi-sport event was a lot of fun for athletes.
“The village overall was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t realize how great it would be until I got there.”
Now Franklin is hoping for another great sporting experience – the Olympics.
Softball organizers are trying to have their sport reinstated as an Olympic event in time for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese love softball, and have the infrastructure, so she says there is reason for optimism.
She has to keep training, and maintain her spot on the national team.
“I’m going to keep playing with the national team for as long as I can.”
Last year she was on a team that finished fourth at the World Championships, and she hopes Team Canada can improve on that next season, when the Worlds are held at South Surrey’s Softball City.
It was the backdrop for some sporting heroics for Franklin this summer. She starred as the women’s national team won the bronze medal at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship.
Through nine games Franklin had 13 hits in 23 at bats, for a .565 average with six runs, one home run, four RBI and two stolen bases.