The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team finished in second place in the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Americas Qualifier tournament. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press photo)

The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team finished in second place in the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Americas Qualifier tournament. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press photo)

Maple Ridge softball athlete helps Canada’s national team advance to world cup group stage

Larissa Franklin scored 12 runs in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Americas Qualifier

The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team put on an impressive performance at the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Americas Qualifier tournament.

This international tournament featured 14 teams battling it out to compete at the XVII WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup in 2024.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, Canada began the tournament with an impressive 14-0 win over Peru. This was followed up by another shutout win the next day when they faced Nicaragua and beat them 9-0.

Monday’s 11-1 win over the Dominican Republic was the first time that Canada allowed a run to be scored against them.

Unfortunately, things took a bit of a turn for Canada after Monday, with Tuesday’s game against the also undefeated team Cuba resulting in a 7-2 loss for the Canadians.

Luckily, they bounced back the next day with a 10-0 win over Mexico to keep their hopes of advancing to the World Cup Group Stage alive.

Canada kept their opponents scoreless when facing Team WBSC later Wednesday evening, resulting in a 9-0 performance that allowed them to finish the round-robin in second place.

They then advanced to the quarterfinal playoff round against the number one-seeded USA team, where they fell to the Americans for an 8-2 loss.

After beating Mexico 1-0 in the next round of the playoffs, Canada secured their advancement to the World Championship qualifier next summer.

Canada then ended the tournament by playing three games in a single day, beating Puerto Rico 7-0 and Cuba 9-0 to advance to the final round, where they once again faced USA.

Unfortunately, Canada was unable to find a way to beat USA, and finished the tournament in second place after losing 12-1 to the Americans.

“Any time you get to wear the name Canada across your chest is an honour. Knowing we represent a whole country full of people back home is one of the greatest parts about international sports,” said Kaleigh Rafter, head coach of the Canadian Women’s National Softball Team.

“It is not easy to get up every day and do the things these women do to prepare for an event like this. But the connection to the fans back home has always been a motivator for all of us. I hope everyone back home can see the joy and passion we play with and how much pride we have to wear the maple leaf.”

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One of the major stars of the Canadian Women’s National Softball Team was Sara Groenewegen from Surrey, B.C., who refrained from allowing even a single run with her pitching.

Kelsey Harshman from Delta, B.C. was an unstoppable force at the plate, recording hits at every one of her first seven plate appearances, including a home run.

Alysen Febrey from Peachtree City, GA and Erika Polidori from Brantford, ON also made their mark on the tournament, scoring four home runs and three home runs, respectively.

Many of the team’s runs were helped or scored by Larissa Franklin from Maple Ridge, B.C. who put up 12 runs across 11 games, and even netted herself a home run in the last round-robin game against Team WBSC.

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Recordings of the games can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/SoftballCanadaNSO.

The top five teams of the tournament are now advancing to the group stage of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup, which will take place in Ireland, Italy, and Spain in 2023, with the final stage of the world cup happening in 2024.

This upcoming world cup is the first WBSC event being played in a two-stage format.

Canada, USA, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela will be heading to Europe to face off against 13 other teams from international qualifiers. All 18 teams will be split into three groups of six to decide who will advance to the final stage of the tournament.

The top two teams from each of the three groups, as well as two wild cards, will enter the final stage, which is set to take place in Italy in 2024.


Have a story tip? Email: brandon.tucker@mapleridgenews.com

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