The players who will don the red-and-white Maple Leaf jersey at next month’s Canada Cup are expected to be revealed this week.
Softball Canada is expected to announce its final rosters for both its national team and its development team June 30 (Friday), at the conclusion of a selection camp that began June 22 in Mississauga, Ont. and was to wrap up Tuesday.
While players have not yet been allotted to either the national or development teams, a number of Lower Mainland players are taking part in the Ontario selection camp this week, including Delta’s Jocelyn Cater, Abbotsford’s Taylor Lundrigan and Maple Ridge’s Larissa Franklin – all three are former White Rock Renegades – as well as Kelsey Jenkins, from Delta, Abbotsford’s Chelsea Jenner and Callum Pilgrim, Surrrey’s Grace Messmer, Port Coquitlam’s Jenn Salling, and Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary grad Holly Speers.
In addition to those two squads, the Canadian national program will also send a third team to the South Surrey tournament – an under-19 junior team. The roster for the juniors was announced earlier this month, and three Surrey players have already been named to the team – Messmer, Danielle de Ruiter, and Maria Palmegiani – as well as Langley’s Abbey Fortin, a former Renegade.
All three teams will play in the women’s division of the Canada Cup, which runs July 7-17. After the Canada Cup, the junior team will head south to the Junior Women’s World Championship in Clearwater, Fla., slated for the end of July.
The 22-year-old former Renegade – who is one of the country’s top pitchers – is expected to be unavailable for this year’s tournament due to her commitments in the U.S.-based National Pro Fastpitch league. Groenewegen recently completed her senior season at the University of Minnesota, after which she joined the professional circuit’s Akron Racers, who selected her second overall in the draft last spring.
Groenewegen has been a staple at the Softball City-hosted tournament for years – suiting up for Canada at last year’s world championships and prior to that, at the Canada Cup’s predecesssor, the Canadian Open. She has also played in the tournamen’s U16 and U19 divisions as a member of the Renegades.
“It’s looking like she won’t be here. That’s not the greatest news for us, but it’s great for her to be able to play pro ball,” said Canada Cup chairperson Greg Timm. “She’s coming up an incredible season (in the NCAA), and she’s at the calibre now of Danielle (Lawrie, former Renegade and national team star) at her peak.”
Scheduling conflicts between the pro league and softball various governing bodies south of the border are not just keeping Groenewegen from the tournament, but also the defending world champion U.S. national team, as most players on that team play in the professional league.
Timm told Peace Arch News earlier this month that he hoped the issues would be worked out in time for future tournaments.