The future of Canadian women’s softball may continue to have a distinct local flavour, if Softball Canada’s recent list of junior-team invitees is to believed.
Released Tuesday afternoon, the national fastpitch program announced 27 players who have been named to the 2019 Junior Women’s National Team athlete pool – and more than one-third of invitees are from Surrey, White Rock and Delta.
In total, 10 players from local programs were listed, including Surrey’s Lauren Benson, who plays for the White Rock Renegades; Surrey’s Gabrielle Dorval, who has played for both White Rock and the Delta Heat programs; Surrey’s Hayley Grice and Kianna Jones, both of the Delta Heat; Katie Korstrom – whose hometown is listed as Abbotsford but plays for the Renegades; Surrey Storm’s Grace Messmer, Georgia Ogg of the White Rock Renegades; and a pair of Delta players, Jessie and Rawnie Westrate. Rounding out the group is Sicamous native Madison Dewitt, who plays with the Renegades.
Dewitt, Benson and Korstrom were all members of the Renegades ‘02 team that won a national championship last month in Winnipeg. Korstrom was named MVP of the tournament.
All 27 invitees will attend a selection camp in Fort Myers, Fla. in January 2019.
Players were scouted at various tournaments throughout the just-completed season – including the U19 national championships that were held in August at South Surrey’s Softball City – as well as at various scouting combines, which were held across the country and attended by more than 500 players.
“We had the opportunity to watch and work with athletes across every province in the country and saw how hard everyone works towards improvement in this age category,” Keith Mackintosh, head coach of the Canadian junior women’s team, said in a news release.
“Our coaching staff is very confident in this group and we feel this will be a special team.”