This summer, local softball fans will again have the opportunity to see some of the best talent from across the globe, when the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championships are staged in South Surrey and Cloverdale.
Five of the world’s top women’s national softball teams are set to compete at the annual event – known in its former existence as the Canada Cup – as national squads from the United States – the reigning world champions – Venezuela, Japan, Australia and, of course, Canada, will all be on the schedule.
The international Invitational is one of a quartet of tournaments at the Canadian Open, which is set to run July 9-17 at Softball City and Cloverdale Athletic Park.
In addition, a club-team category – with university-aged teams – will join the fray, along with the Futures division (under-18) and Showcase (under-16). In total, between 80 and 100 teams – more than 1,300 players – are expected to hit the field for the event, which is the largest tournament in the country.
“This community has a great legacy of promoting and supporting women’s fastpitch events, and to be the home of one of the three largest tournaments in the world, drawing the top teams and athletes to this event, is extremely exciting,” Canadian Open chairman Greg Timm told Black Press earlier this year.
This will be the second year for the Canadian Open, which replaced the Canada Cup last year when most international squads – save for Canada and the United States, which played an exhibition series – had to bow out of the popular event due to a scheduling conflict with world championships.
In addition to the national teams competing in the International Invitational, the Futures tournament will also have some worldly flavour as well, as squads from Peru, Great Britain, Brazil and Colombia and Canada. Local clubs in the Futures division include the Delta Heat, both the Surrey Storm ‘92 and ‘93 teams, and two White Rock Renegade sides, the ‘92s and ‘94s. The U16 Showcase tourney will feature the Heat ‘95 and ‘96, the South Surrey-White Rock Thunder and the Renegades ‘95 and ‘96.
The weeklong event, hosted by the White Rock Renegades association, will be played at Softball City and Cloverdale Athletic Park.