Birmingham, Ala. – The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team is ready to open The World Games in Birmingham, Ala. against No. 6 Chinese Taipei at 1:00pm CDT on Saturday. The tournament will feature the top eight teams from the WBSC Women’s Softball World Rankings competing for the world title.
The Canadian squad is led by Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallist Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.) who took over the reigns of the program last fall. Her coaching staff includes long-time teammate and fellow Olympic bronze medallist Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) as well as Olympic assistant coaches Lonni Alameda (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Chris Jones (Oshawa, Ont.), athletic therapist Natalie Ghobrial (North York, Ont.) and team leader Joey Lye (Toronto, Ont.).
The Canadian roster features seven returning players from Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medal winning team: Emma Entzminger (Victoria, B.C.), Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Kelsey Harshman (Delta, B.C.), Victoria Hayward (Toronto, Ont.), Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ont.), Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.) and Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, Ont.). Also on the roster is Olympic alternate pitcher Morgan Rackel (Calgary, Alta.).
New additions to the pitching staff include Ruby Anderson (Victoria, B.C.), Nicola Simpson (Seattle, Wash.) and Jorde Chartrand (Weyburn, Sask.), who replaces Dawn Bodrug (Georgetown, Ont.) who is unable to compete due to injury. Former Junior Women’s National Team standouts Kianna Jones (Surrey, B.C.) and Grace Messmer (Cloverdale, B.C.) are also new to the roster, along with other key additions Alysen Febrey (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Kelsey Lalor (Red Deer, Alta.).
The World Games will be played July 9-13 with eight teams divided into two pools. Group A includes no. 1 USA, no. 3 Canada, no. 6 Chinese Taipei and no. 7. Italy, while Group B is comprised of no. 2 Japan, no. 4 Mexico, no. 5 Puerto Rico and no. 8 Australia.
Canada will play no. 7 Italy at 1:00pm CDT on Sunday, July 10 followed by no. 1 USA at 7:00pm CDT on Monday, July 11. The top two teams from each group will crossover in the semi-finals on Tuesday, July 12 with the bronze and gold medal games taking place on Wednesday, July 13.