SURREY — The Boys of Spring? Make room for the women.
In a move to further the development of female baseball in B.C., women are lacing up their cleats for the first time to take on the men of the Lower Mainland Baseball Association.
And it all starts in Surrey.
On Saturday (April 7) at Holly Park, the all-female B.C. Badgers (BC Senior Women’s Baseball) will be playing their first game in the LMBA’s 45+ Division against the men of the Surrey Sun Devils.
For Badgers team manager Diana Fournier, this has been two decades in the making.
“For 20 years this has been a goal of mine,” she told the Now-Leader. “We still have girls being cut from teams because coaches say, ‘You should play softball, not baseball.’
Dan Taylor, LMBA commissioner, says the addition of the Badgers to Canada’s largest adult baseball league is “history in the making.”
For the past two seasons, he says, individual female players have played for LMBA club teams and last year, two exhibition games between LMBA players and the BC Provincial Senior Women’s team indicated that further games would be a good fit for both parties.
Taylor says the fact that many team members are scattered throughout the Lower Mainland – and players from the Interior and Island will be making weekly trips to Surrey’s Holly Park for their home games is a testament to the hard work and dedication from the Badgers’ team manager.
“Diana has done an incredible job in assembling the players and navigating the process of joining the LMBA,” he wrote in a release.
Taylor also credits Bruce Lawson from Surrey Canadian Baseball for making Holly Park work as the Badger’s home field and for working with both the Badgers and the LMBA.
The Badgers roster, which ranges in age from 17 to 46, includes some of B.C.’s top female players who are also vying for a spot to represent B.C. at the Women’s National Baseball Tournament in Montreal in July. Some of them will then go on to represent Canada at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup in Viera, Florida in August.
|Baseball BC says the move to include the Badgers in the LMBA is a great chance to showcase what women can do on the diamond. (Photo submitted)
While the roster includes seven players with women’s national team experience – and four who were part of the roster that won silver at the 2016 World Cup in South Korea – it also includes a few who are new to the sport, having started playing just a few years ago.
Scott MacKenzie from Baseball BC said the move to include the Badgers in the LMBA is a great chance to showcase what women can do on the diamond.
“Women’s baseball may be a niche sport but it is on the world stage,” he said. “These women will show you why.”
Holly Park is located at 10698 148th St in Surrey. The Badgers’ first regular-season LMBA game against the Sun Devils starts there at noon on Saturday, April 7. Representatives from Baseball BC and its Female Committee will also be on hand with a barbecue and information on its summer programming for girls of all ages.