Jessica Mallette, pitcher, Léa Chevrier, pitcher, Olivia May Giguère, 1st baseman and catcher, Naomi Cohen second baseman / outfielder and Naomie Pelletier, shortstop, were all selected from the Softball Quebec – Fastpitch Softball to be part of the Quebec Rebelles. The team will represent La Belle-Province at the Canada Games.
The five 16-year-old athletes, students in high school, are in their 4th or 5th year in the Quebec Rebelles program. Selection to make the U18 team, the only team going to the Canada Games, is a long process. The players have made huge sacrifices to get to where they are today.
The selection process
Over a year ago, Rebelles head coach Brad Pelletier began his selection process. He started with 24 players whom he then evaluated in meetings, tournaments and at a selection camp in Florida.
“The coaching staff and I made our choice on 13 players, including 5 who come from Vaudreuil-Soulanges, said Mr. Pelletier. It’s a truly amazing opportunity for the girls and for the region to show that we have quality athletes here.”
This opportunity to play the Canada Games is also a huge stepping stone for young athletes. Besides playing the sport they love, there’s a good chance they’ll be spotted by American universities. You should know that softball is very popular in the United States and girls have a chance to go and play for a university in Uncle Sam’s country. This is often accompanied by a scholarship that covers all of the tuition fees.
“Their efforts and sacrifices are finally paying off, said the Rebelles head coach. In addition to representing their province at the Games, they are positioning themselves to play at American universities and ultimately to team up with Canada for the Olympics. ”
The Games and Covid-19
Covid-19 and the postponement of the Games from 2021 to 2022 have been a blow to everyone. However, the players are very motivated and know they have a chance to aspire to great honor.
“We train three to four times a week, explains Naomi Pelletier. We do this by Zoom. We all have to film ourselves doing the exercises, practicing hits and pitches.”
“We see the other girls also training from a distance and that motivates us, exclaims Olivia May Giguère. We know that everyone puts in the effort and being a team sport, we have to do the same for the team to perform.”
The coaches follow the players closely and hope that the moral will hold. Not having a tournament until the summer and doing their practice from a distance, this could put a strain on the team. However, the girls can think about the next activities they will have this summer.
“If all goes well, we will be able to participate in the Canada Cup and the Canadian Championship next summer, says Jessica Mallette. We can’t wait to be able to play and show what we can do.”
The athletes continue to train for the 2022 Canada Games. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the fastpitch players in action and especially our five athletes from the region who proudly represent us.