Softball Canada Celebrates Golden Anniversary with Golden Performances
Published By Gilles LeBlanc
Published on August 21st, 2015
(Ottawa, ON) It has been a year to remember for Softball Canada’s National Teams.
Celebrating Softball Canada’s 50th Anniversary, which also happens to fall on the Year of Sport (#YearofSport) as proclaimed by Sport Canada, the Men’s and Women’s National Teams made history by earning double Gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in Ajax, Ontario repeating a feat they previously accomplished at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela.
“We wanted to bring a swagger back to Canada and I think we’ve done that” said John Stuart, Head Coach of Canada’s Men’s Softball Team, adding it was particularly satisfying to win double gold on home soil. “It’s history. It’s never been done before. That’s something these guys can be very proud of.”
The Men’s Softball Team has now swept all eight Gold medals at the Pan Am Games, winning seven consecutive gold medal between 1979 and 2003 before winning the 2015 event after being left off the program in 2007 and 2011. As for the Women Softball Team, they broke the United States’ run of seven consecutive Gold medals by defeating them 4-2 in eight innings in the Gold medal game. Canada had won four consecutive Silver medals from 1999 to 2011.
“We talked with the athletes from the moment we came together about keeping it simple, believing in ourselves and doing the things we knew we did well” said Women’s National Team Head Coach Mark Smith following the Gold medal win. “They grew up today in a big way, and they learned what it takes to compete at the top level. They beat one of the top teams in the World and that bodes well for our future.”
Earlier this summer, the Men’s National Team added their first WBSC Men’s World Softball Championship Gold medal since 1992 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to complete their double Gold performance. New Zealand had won four of the last five World Championships, with Team Canada fighting back from an early 5-0 deficit to beat them 10-5 in this year’s Gold medal game.
“You chase this tournament your whole career, you play ball for this very event” stated Men’s Softball Team outfielder Jeff Ellsworth, who recently announced his retirement from international competition. “It’s the first time Canada has won in 23 years, so to put Canada back on top with your last crack at it, it’s pretty special.”
Finally, the Junior Women’s National Team matched its’ all-time best finish of fourth place at the WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship in Oklahoma City, a result they previously attained at the first World Championship held in Edmonton, Alberta in 1981. The fourth place finish also broke a streak of three consecutive fifth place finishes for the Canadian squad at the 2007, 2011 and 2013 World Championships.
All in all, it has been the most successful year in the history of Softball Canada’s National Teams with three Gold medals in major international competitions in 2015. Softball Canada will celebrate these incredible performances at the organization’s Annual General Meeting and Congress November 12th to 15th in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the location where Softball Canada was formed in 1965. The theme of Softball Canada’s 50th Anniversary celebration is “Celebrating the Past and Building the Future”. Softball players and fans are passionate, and behind each and every one of them is a moment that started it all. This theme celebrates that moment, whether it happened in the past or whether it is happening right now with the success of our National Teams, kick starting future generations of players and fans.
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