White Rock Renegades ’95 pitcher Sara Groenewegen has become a key member of her team

White Rock Renegades ’95 pitcher Sara Groenewegen has become a key member of her team

Bat girl-turned-pitcher to star at Canadian Open

White Rock Renegade pitcher Sara Groenewegen will take lessons learned from Team Canada to tournament’s Showcase division

Very little will likely surprise Sara Groenewegen this weekend, when she hits the field at the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship.

Not the crowds, not the level of talent in the dugout along the opposite foul line and certainly not the pressure.

After all, Groenewegen, who pitches and plays shortstop for the White Rock Renegades ’95, has seen it all before. Two years ago, when she was in Grade 8, she served as a bat girl for Team Canada at the Canada Cup, the precursor to the Canadian Open.

From her spot in the dugout, she was able to learn from the country’s best.

“It was very inspirational to be a part of that, and be around the team, because I’d like to play for Team Canada when I’m older,” said Groenewegen, who spent her Canada Day weekend trying out for the country’s junior national fastpitch squad.

“I just tried to watch it all, and soak it all in.”

Groenewegen said she was well-recieved by the Canadian squad, many of whom knew her older sister, Marina, who that year had tried out for the national team, making it into the top 24.

“They gave me a Team Canada jersey with my number 17 on it, and everyone signed it,” she said.

Had she wanted to, Groenewegen likely could’ve taught some of the older Team Canada players a thing or two – if not about how to play the game itself, at least a little about mental strength and perseverance. That’s because Groenewegen, like her older sister, has managed to play softball at a high level despite living with diabetes.

And while dealing with the condition has become second nature for Groenewegen – she’s dealt with it since she began playing with White Rock in Grade 5 – she admits its still a struggle on occasion.

“It’s certainly a lot harder to play a sport with diabetes. You have to be responsible and know to test yourself and keep track of how you’re feeling,” she said. “While I’m playing – especially when I’m pitching – I need to be at the perfect level or I won’t perform well.

If her blood-sugar levels get too high, she gets a headache and feels dizzy; too low, and she feels tired and groggy.

“It’s manageable, but it’s tough for a young person, for sure,” said Renegades ’95 coach Chuck Westgard, who also coached Marina on the four-time national champion Renegades ’91 team.

“It’s just one more thing for you to focus on and think about, but both her and her sister have handled it very well, and are very good players.”

Groenewegen and her Renegade ’95 mates played in last year’s inaugural Canadian Open, in the Showcase division, and will be among the favourites in the same division this year.

The team has lost only a few games so far this season, and is also coming off a tournament title in Seattle, which they won on the Memorial Day long weekend.

“I think we have a really good chance of winning this year,” Groenewegen said.

“But it’s great just to play. We’re all really proud of this tournament, and it’s cool to be able to play so many international teams in such a world (renowned) tournament.”

The Canadian Open begins July 9 at Softball City, Sunnyside Park and Cloverdale Athletic Park.

Groenewegen’s Renegades ’95 squad opens the Showcase Gold tournament at Softball City on July 11, 10:30 a.m. against the Arizona Cats.

They also have round-robin games against the Washington Diamond Dusters, Delta Heat ’95, Ridge Meadows Pride ’96, Fraser Valley Fusion ’95 and Richmond Islanders ’96.

For more information, including a full schedule and results as they happen, visit www.canadianopenfastpitch.com

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Music therapist Felicia Wall in the music room at Phoenix Society in Surrey. (submitted photo)
Eclectic album showcases songs recorded by Surrey residents in recovery

Project at Phoenix Society took about six months to complete, with help of music therapist

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read