Elite batting for gold at championship

A group of South Okanagan ball players will be competing in the 2011 Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch Championship July 9 to 17.

A group of South Okanagan ball players will be competing in the 2011 Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch Championship July 9 to 17.

Summerland player Lindsea Cutt is one of the members of the U19 Okanagan Elite Gold playing at the championship in Surrey’s Softball City. She will be joined by Summerland players Alexa Brickenden and Madison Wilms and Naramata players Jennifer Black and Kassie Keir. While for many of the players it is an opportunity to have scouts from American universities see them in action, Cutt already has caught that attention. The catcher/outfielder redshirted with  the inaugural season for the Waycross Swamp Foxes in Georgia on a partial scholarship taking early childhood education.

“I have played ball for the past 10 years and it was always fun and I like playing competitively, but I never thought I would play college ball,” said Cutt. “College ball down there, even for a first year program, is so far ahead. It’s a faster game. It’s not even the actual speed, it’s the 62-mile per hour curveballs and screwballs. The pitchers have insane spin on their ball and crazy movement.”

It’s an opportunity Okanagan Gold Elite coaches hope to give to more players in the area. Coach Joni Frei said with over 80 teams competing and 1,300 athletes participating in the largest fastpitch tournament hosted in Canada there is sure to be a large number of schools watching from the bleachers. It was with the concept of starting a program for athletes to pursue their dreams and train them to be the best they can be and not have to leave their communities in the Okanagan to reach those opportunities that she came up with the Okanagan Gold Elite program.

“There is going to be loads of scouts there. This is huge. It is incredible what kind of tournament this is going to be. Girls on this team are actively being recruited by college’s in the States,” said Frei.

Frei is a former player of the Canadian Open Fastpitch Championship and along with coach Dani Damel they are getting excited for their group of athletes to play in the largest women’s-only sporting event in B.C. this year.

“I know that both Dani and I agree that some of our greatest softball highlights and memories include competing and participating in this tournament. Softball City is our old stomping grounds and to have our athletes enjoy and share in the same experiences that we have had at these same fields means so much to us,” said Frei.

The Okanagan Gold Elite will be back in Surrey for provincials July 22 to 24.