Sports

Pair make cut for Canadian national fastpitch team

South Surrey’s Sara Groenewegen will suit up for Canada at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship later this month. - File photo
South Surrey’s Sara Groenewegen will suit up for Canada at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship later this month.
— image credit: File photo

Two local players will be suiting up for Canada when the national women’s team competes at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in Surrey.

Veteran infielder Jennifer Yee of North Delta and pitcher Sara Groenewegen of South Surrey were among the 17 players named to the team Monday by Softball Canada.

Yee, a product of both the Surrey Storm and Delta Heat rep programs, is in her eighth season with the national team while Groenewegen is in her second.

Canada’s first competition of the summer will be at the General Tire World Cup of Softball which begins Saturday in Irvine, Calif. After the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in Surrey July 15-21, the team will head for Europe for the World Championship in the Netherlands Aug. 15-24.

Yee has been competing at the Canadian Open for the past decade, making her first appearance in the Futures (U18) division in 2004, the same season she was named to the Canadian Development team.

She made the national team for the first time in 2007, and a year later was Canada’s top batter at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China with a .348 average. While playing for Canada, Yee has won silver medals at the 2007 and 2011 Pan-American Games, and a bronze medal at the 2010 World Championships in Venezuela.

Yee was a standout in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) with the Georgia Tech Bulldogs. While batting leadoff and playing second base in 2010, she led the NCAA with a .568 batting average while reaching base in all 62 games played.

Groenewegen was pitching for the White Rock Renegades rep program when she was selected to play for Canada at last year’s Canadian Open at Softball City.

This past spring, she had an exceptional first season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the NCAA’s Big Ten conference, earning the conference’s Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards. She is just the third player to win both awards in the same season.

Groenewegen led the NCAA with an average of 11.6 strikeouts over seven innings, going 14-3 (won-lost) with a 2.23 earned run average. She held opposing batters to a .170 average, the lowest in the Big 10 and second-lowest in Golden Gophers softball history.

A First Team All-Big Ten selection, she also set a conference record with 14 strikeouts against Purdue on May 2.

At the plate, she hit cleanup in 44 games and had Minnesota’s third-highest batting average at .299. She tied for second on the team, sixth in the conference, and eighth in single-season school history with 11 home runs.

The Canadian Open gets underway July 11 with games in the Futures Selects and Showcase (U16) Selects categories. For more on the event, go online and visit www.canadianopenfastpitch.com

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