Baseball Event for Women in Canada
OTTAWA-Nova Scotia has once again hosted a successful girl’s instructional clinic. For the third year in a row a clinic has been provided to teach baseball skills and also increase the profile of the sport amongst females in the province. This year the event was held in Bedford, a small community that is just outside of Halifax where over 150 girls participated.
“We had 151 girls registered and then we had walk-ups,” explained event organizer and Baseball Nova Scotia Treasurer, Holly Lapierre. “I’m still plugging all of the names into our registration database.”
With the amount of participants that registered for the event, the day had to be split into two sessions based on age. The morning group was for girls aged 4 to 9 and the afternoon group had 10 to 16 year olds. A great feature to the event is that it is open to any female interesting in participating regardless of their baseball experience.
“Anyone is welcome to attend,” said Lapierre. “It doesn’t matter if you have never played before or aren’t even registered, c’mon out!”
When the morning session got underway the young girl’s rotated through stations that were coordinated by Bantam girl’s provincial team coach, Stephen Benjamin. Benjamin had the help of player’s from his provincial team to provide instruction to the young ball players and give them a glimpse of what kind of opportunities are available for female baseball players in the province.
The top quality instruction didn’t stop there as Paul Prince, head coach of the Senior Women’s provincial team also provided instruction along with two of his assistant coaches and four members of the Senior Women’s team. The highlight for everyone involved was a guest coach appearance by former Toronto Blue Jay and Canadian National Team player, Rob Ducey.
“I had a wonderful time here in Halifax this weekend,” said Ducey. “The day was a great way to introduce baseball to girls and re-enforce baseball skills for those girls who have already been playing.
Ducey was able to rotate around the field and act as a ‘floating instructor’ and filled in with the various stations that were set up. The girls were also treated to a signing period where Ducey signed autographs and was able to interact with participants.
“Overall, it is a great way for grass roots programs to get started and continue to develop girl’s baseball in Canada,” noted Ducey.
Ducey’s presence and the event itself caused some well deserved media attention and it also gave a telling sign of what the participants thought of having a former pro like Ducey attend the event.
“One of the girls that were interviewed on TV was asked what it meant to have (Rob) Ducey at the event,” explained Lapierre. “She said I had instruction from a former major league baseball player, how awesome is that!”
Lapierre was also happy to report that she received numerous notes from parents of participants thanking her for organizing the clinic and relaying how much of a positive experience it was for their daughters.
“Parents have told me that it was great to see the girls get this much attention, guidance and encouragement,” said Lapierre. “They also told me how much their daughters are looking forward to playing baseball now and in the future for those who are new to the sport.
She also anticipates that because of the feedback she has received the event is headed for bigger and better times in the future. Some families travelled as far as two hours away to attend the event proving that the span the event and the sport has is felt throughout the province.
“The first year the girl’s were from only two associations (Hammond Plains and Fall River),” said Lapierre. Last year we (out of 145 participants) had about 30 girls from other associations and this year the number went up again to about 70 girls (from other associations).”
Lapierre also fielded phone calls and e-mails from parents who were upset that their daughter missed this year’s event, but couldn’t wait until next year.
“I guess I’ll have to keep running the clinics,” said Lapierre with a laugh.
Based on the success of the event, Holly Lapierre better get used to running them for many years to come.
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Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.