Summerland’s Raina Whitfield never expected to make the Canada Futures Collegiate Showcase team.
“It’s pretty cool. I’ve never really had any opportunities like this before,” said Whitfield, who helped the Summerland Scorch U16 fastball team earn silver at provincials this past season.
She went to tryouts in Coquitlam on Aug. 27 to see how she would do and get more field time. She ended up pleasantly surpised to be selected.
Joni Frei, owner of Beyond the White Lines Softball Academy and coach of the Canada Futures team, said one of their goals is to recognize talent throughout B.C.
“There is no doubt that Raina has got talent. It’s just a matter of her having the opportunity to be in an environment of other talented kids for her to receive opportunities,” said Frei, who played in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II with Georgia College and State University and coach of Team B.C. for the North American Indigenous Games. “She’s just a complete player. She’s a good kid, she’s got a good attitude. She works hard.”
During the camp in Coquitlam, Frei ranked players based on their performance on a scale of one to four. One being a starter who will get the majority of playing time to four, players being there for the experience. Whitfield ranked three, in which she will see “glimpses of innings,” Frei said Whitfield will have opportunities.
“It’s up to her to capitalize on those opportunities,” said Frei. “Let’s say if she pitches lights out or she plays her position lights out, then she will have more of an opportunity.”
Whitfield and her team head out on their college tour to Georgia and Florida from Oct. 4 to 10 and return to Canada on Oct. 11. They will play 10 games while visiting colleges and universities.
“I look forward to seeing a bunch of different colleges, playing different teams,” said Whitfield, 16, who was named the 2016 Summerland U16 most sportsmanlike player and is looking to crack the Kelowna Heat for next season. “I think it would be a pretty cool opportunity.”
Whitfield plays first base and pitches, which is her preferred position. Along with a fast pitch, Whitfield can throw a change up and enjoys the feeling of striking batters out.
“A lot of people on my team say I always get like a smirk when I strike someone out, I don’t really notice it,” she said.
Whitfield’s family has created a GoFundMe account, called Raina Whitfield Hitting the Road, seeking support to help send her on the college tour. The goal is to reach $2,000. It was at $450 as of Thursday morning.