O’Leary is ready

Se­nior women’s fast­pitch cham­pi­onship tour­ney com­ing to P.E.I. in Au­gust

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS -

The po­ten­tial of hav­ing sev­eral play­ers from Canada’s Pan Am gold-medal-win­ning women’s soft­ball team in O’Leary soon has or­ga­niz­ers of the 2015 Sco­tia­bank se­nior women’s na­tional fast­pitch cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment stoked.

Canada up­set the favoured United States 4-2 in the cham­pi­onship game in Ajax, Ont., on Satur­day.

“What Team Canada just ac­com­plished was amaz­ing, beat­ing the U.S. at the Pan Am Games, and we have the chance to now host those ath­letes in O’Leary is some­thing pretty spe­cial,” gushed O’Leary recre­ation di­rec­tor Jeff Ellsworth. “We have a chance to show them what O’Leary is all about.”

Ellsworth, a world tour­na­ment and Pan Am Games goldmedal­list in men’s soft­ball, is ex­pect­ing many of the mem­bers of Team Canada to play for their per­spec­tive pro­vin­cial teams in the seven-team na­tional cham­pi­onship.

The tour­na­ment, which fea­tures a sin­gle round-robin for­mat fol­lowed by a play­off round, will be played on O’Leary’s El­lis Field from Aug. 19 to Aug. 23.

Ellsworth and the town’s act­ing recre­ation di­rec­tor, Joel Rodger­son, both de­scribed El­lis Field as be­ing in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion.

All tour­na­ment games are slated to be played there, but the School Field could get some use if weather con­di­tions cause sched­ule ad­just­ments.

Is­land Im­pact, the host team for the tour­na­ment, draws play­ers from across P.E.I., and O’Leary suc­cess­fully hosted the un­der-16 na­tional cham­pi­onship two years ago.

Or­ga­niz­ers still need more vol­un­teers to as­sist with the tour­na­ment. Any­one who can help out is en­cour­aged to call the recre­ation of­fice at (902)-8591464 or (902)-214-4456. There are sev­eral ar­eas where vol­un­teers can help out - gate ad­mis­sions, can­teen, field crew, first-aid, 50-50, team li­ai­son and scor­ing.

Ellsworth pre­dicts the tour­na­ment will pro­vide a large eco­nomic spinoff for the area, draw­ing in hun­dreds of play­ers, fam­ily mem­bers, of­fi­cials and fans.

“Hav­ing our lo­cal fe­male youth see the top tour­na­ment in Canada will re­ally pique the in­ter­est of the lo­cal play­ers, and hope­fully one day they will want to play at that level as well,” he com­mented.

ERIC MCCARTHY/TC MEDIA

O’Leary recre­ation di­rec­tor Jeff Ellsworth left, and in­terim recre­ation di­rec­tor Joel Rodger­son took a tour of the town’s El­lis Field and de­clared it ready for the Sco­tia­bank se­nior women’s na­tional fast­pitch cham­pi­onship. It takes place in O’Leary from Aug. 19 to 23.

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