Play Makers: North America’s Top Female Fast Pitch Players Set to Invade Whitehorse

Two of the world’s best women’s fast pitch teams are in Whitehorse this week to play what promises to be two highly competitive exhibition games.

Team Canada and Team USA are scheduled to do battle tonight, and last night, at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Takhini in a teaser to the 2012 World Championships.

High-calibre fast pitch is becoming a regular occurrence for ball fans in Whitehorse as the exhibition games come on the heels of the hugely successful Junior World Fast Pitch Championships held in Whitehorse in 2008.

George Arcand, Softball Yukon executive director, says as impressive as the games were at the Junior World’s in Whitehorse two years ago, these should be even better.

“The big difference is the players in 2008 were teenagers whereas these are women and some of the best in the world,” explains Arcand. “The Americans just won their seventh-straight world title in Caracas, Venezuela last month and are a definite powerhouse.”

And while Team Canada’s players are no slouches themselves, finishing third in the world and capturing their first medal since 1978 at the recent championships, they will have their hands full against the Americans.

In capturing its recent World Championship title, Team USA outscored its opponents 95-6 and went undefeated in 10 games including a 7-0 win over Team Japan in the final.

“It’s not as tight a rivalry as when Canada and USA play in women’s hockey, but both teams will be wanting to win for their country,” says Arcand.

Regardless of the final score, Arcand says the exposure is what he is looking forward to the most.

In two years, Whitehorse will be welcoming Team Canada and Team USA again along with 14 other nations from around the world as the Pepsi Softball Centre hosts the International Softball Federation XIII Women’s World Championship.

“It’s important we showcase the game now and get behind Team Canada and the upcoming Championships in 2012, said Arcand, who is chair of the 2012 championship organizing committee. “Whitehorse was extremely supportive of the Junior Championships and I expect the same this week and in 2012.”

It is for that reason that Arcand showed no hesitation in accepting the offer to have the two teams travel to Whitehorse this week, even with the biggest slo-pitch tournament of the territory, Dust-ball, going the weekend before in the Yukon capital city.

“Sure it’s a little more work,” says Arcand. “But we’re talking about some of the best ball action Yukoners will have seen in years, if ever.”

During their two-day visit, the teams will conduct a practice each day which the public can watch. The games are expected to start at 6:30 p.m. with a $5.00 per person charge at the gate for each game.

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