Just like the big league players who’ll be reporting to spring training camps across Florida and Arizona this week, it’s become a right of passage for upwards of 30 lucky girls baseball players to escape winter this time of year for the warm baseball hotbed of Cuba and the annual Girls Baseball Development Camp.
Women’s National Team Director André Lachance, as part of a team of five coaches, will be taking 32 athletes to Cuba on Sunday for an action-packed, seven-day baseball and cultural experience that will give participants a new appreciation for baseball and Cuban culture.
“I can’t say enough how invaluable this experience is for these young athletes,” said Lachance. “Not only do they get to test themselves as baseball players against quality opponents, but the skills and life experience they will receive are equally as important.”
This camp is well known among the Canadian baseball community with interest increasing each year says Lachance with athletes and families eager to snap up one of the spot months in advance.
“The demand is high with people reaching out to me asking how they can go,” he explained. “Our goal when we started this 11 years ago was to combine a quality experience on the field with a rich, cultural experience off the field. I think we’ve really been successful accomplishing that.”
Lachance will be joined on the field in Cuba with current Women’s National Team Manager Aaron Myette and former Women’s National Team coach Wayne Parro while national team alums Hannah Martensen and Kate Psota round out the coaching staff.
“We’re very fortunate to have a strong staff including Hannah and Kate to share their experiences with our (national team) program,” added Lachance. “A lot of athletes who have attended this development camp in the past are current members of our national team and this camp will give players an idea of how our program operates and also provide a taste of international baseball.
Participants range in age from 13 to 18 and represent eight Canadian provinces while two athletes from Sweden and Belgium with ties to Canada make-up the 32 players attending.
Upon arrival the players will be split into two groups with daily games against Cuban teams and cultural activities and tours scheduled for afternoons and evenings.
You really can’t beat this experience,” said Lachance. “These athletes will be challenged daily on the field and will be put out of their comfort zones, but the end result will be truly beneficial for their baseball careers moving forward.
“Getting away from the winter weather doesn’t hurt either!”
Evelyn Laferrière - Québec
Lory-Anne Carrière - Québec
Amelia Russo - BC
Julia Konigshofer – Nova Scotia
Keegan Wong - BC
Lauren Howorth - Ontario
Emma Howorth - Ontario
Rachel Tam - BC
Alixia Legault - Québec
Alexandra Lacroix - Québec
Mia Leblanc – New Brunswick
Jaida Lee – Newfoundland & Labrador
Cheyenne Simicak - BC
Ela Day-Bédard - Québec
Charlotte Meert – Québec/Belgium
Kayla Musseau - Newfoundland & Labrador
Rosalie Dufresne - Québec
Maddi Healy - Newfoundland & Labrador
Ashley Losin - BC
Mercedees Gorham - Manitoba
Noémye Letendre - Québec
Cydnie Moore - Alberta
Helaina Appleyard - Alberta
Megane Beaudoin - Québec
Vanessa McKinley - BC
Shilo Chislett - Newfoundland & Labrador
Audrey-Anne Vachon - Québec
Ella Duncan-Reda - BC
Isabella Bortolotto BC
Tess Sawkins - BC
Maëva St-Pierre - Québec
Paris Brienesse - Sweden