24/07/2024

Maple Ridge softball star with Team Canada in Italy - Maple Ridge News

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Maple Ridge softball star with Team Canada in Italy - Maple Ridge News

After the Canada Cup, Franklin and the women’s national team playing in World Cup qualifier

After the Canada Cup, Franklin and the women’s national team playing in World Cup qualifier

Maple Ridge’s Larissa Franklin is in Italy with the Team Canada women’s softball squad, battling to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

They are competing in the 2023 WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage. The Canadian women are just finished the Canada Cup International Softball Championship that was held in Surrey, where they lost in the quarter-finals to Italy 6-2.

“It was fantastic,” Franklin said of the Softball City event, noting there were great crowds for the games. “My first impression was they were doing bigger and better things.”

The Olympian said the Canadian women were able to use the event as a tune-up tournament before they battle for a spot the 2024 World Cup.

Franklin has been patrolling centre field for Team Canada for a decade. She has competed in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 WBSC Women’s Softball World Championships, taking bronze in the last two events.

She was part of the gold medal winning squad at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, and led Canada with eight hits and a .444 batting average to help Canada to a silver medal finish at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru. Franklin also represented Canada at the 2019 WBSC Americas Qualifier, helping the team qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by batting .353, including a pair of triples.

After the bronze effort at the 2020 Olympics, she flirted with the idea of retiring, but was drawn to the young Canadian team.

She said half of the team retired, so half are now “young, raw players with incredible talent.”

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge softball star says bronze medal win ‘surreal’

The 30-year-old stayed with the squad to take on a leadership role, and pass along the culture that the team has built. It’s a job she has enjoyed, and she believes the team is capable of being elite.

“We have a lot of great potential on this team,” she said.

Canada goes to Italy as the fifth ranked team in the world, and they are in group with second-ranked Japan, the hosts from Italy who rank eighth, New Zealand (29th), Venezuela (22nd) and the Philippines (26).

They open the tournament against the Philippines on Saturday morning.

“We’re looking to qualify for the world championships next year – we can definitely do it,” said Franklin, adding it will be a disappointment if they don’t qualify. The 2024 Women’s Softball World Cup will be played next summer in Ireland, Italy and Spain.

Franklin spends most of her time in Toronto these days, but after the Canada Cup, she got home to Maple Ridge. She showed four of her teammates one of her favourites pastimes – tubing down the Alouette River.

“I’ve done that with my family all my life,” she said. “They (the ball players) loved it. It was the perfect off day in nature, cool and relaxing.”

There are also some obstacles and anxious moments in the currents, but the blackberry scratches they got on the river ride should be healed just in time for the tournament opener in Italy.

READ ALSO: Team Japan takes gold at Canada Cup softball tournament in Surrey


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