Despite last weekend’s snowfall, spring has arrived in Cranbrook and the girls of summer are ready to make their way outside for a new season.
After bringing competitive women’s fastpitch back to the region last year with the Cranbrook Banditas, the concept has evolved into the ‘East Kootenay Women’s Softball’ league in order to attract a wider swath of potential players.
According to the man running the league this summer, Jordan Foreman, there will be a place for all levels of players over the age of 18 in the EKWS.
“[We] decided to head [in] an entirely different direction this year and really focus on bringing fastpitch back to the Kootenays,” Foreman said. “We thought last year was a bit of a closed door, so a core group of us got together early this year and set the direction to [create] more of a ‘ladies night’ fastpitch [concept] and decided to open it up to anyone who may be interested.”
While the Banditas were primarily focused on being a competitive travel team, the EKWS will have room for brand new players to the sport, as well as those who may not be able to commit to anything too serious.
According to Foreman, there are currently almost 40 women registered for the league and they have been training weekly, working indoors on their fundamentals over the past month. A tryout session, which is a separate entity from the league, will be held next Tuesday night and hopefully expand the group’s numbers.
“You don’t have to be in the league to come try out; it’s completely open to anyone who may be interested,” Foreman said. “We are hoping for two teams [in the EKWS]. We will, for sure, have one competitive team, which will attend a handful of tournaments and [the] Provincials, [but] we are also hoping to have a more flexible team, which will carry more players to accommodate players that maybe don’t want the commitment as much and are busy some of the weekends required by the other team.
“We just want to give everyone who wants to play tournaments the opportunity to do so.”
While the league is mostly made up of players from Cranbrook and Kimberley, it is also open to those from elsewhere in the East Kootenays. In addition to players, the EKWS is also currently seeking out sponsors.
“We currently have a couple of amazing sponsors, but are still looking and hoping for a few more to help us out,” Foreman said. “[We need sponsors] to help us grow fastball in the community, as there is a lot of expense involved in the running of the program.”
Following Tuesday’s tryouts, the league will be sending a team to participate in a tournament in Sicamous from May 25 to 27, Calgary from June 1 to 3 and possibly once again in Sicamous from June 22 to 24. Foreman is also trying to organize a home tournament for July 6 to 8, before heading to the Provincial championships at the start of August.
For more information, Foreman encourages those interested in the EKWS to visit their Facebook page.