School is out for the summer, but Chelsea Jenner and Taylor Lundrigan will be working harder than ever.
The Abbotsford duo have been selected for the B.C. under-21 provincial team which will compete in the women’s elite division at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship.
The prestigious tournament opens this Saturday (June 30) and runs to July 9 in Surrey, primarily at Softball City. The B.C. squad will face elite teams from around the globe, including entries from Mexico, Indonesia, Great Britain, Peru, China and the United States.
Both girls are also doing double duty with teams in the futures (U19) division – Lundrigan is playing shortstop for her Abbotsford Outlaws 96A squad, while Jenner, a centre fielder, has been picked up by the Richmond Islanders 94 since her usual Abby team isn’t in the Canadian Open.
All told, the girls figure to play a minimum of 16 games in just over a week. It’s a schedule that will surely test their stamina, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It helps that there’s no school,” Jenner noted with a chuckle. “It’s going to be crazy. For me, my team only played 13 regular season games. So I’m going to be playing more games in this one week than the whole season.”
“We’ll push through it,” Lundrigan added. “If we’re in a final game and we have to be drinking Coke to bring our energy up, we’ll be there. You’ll see us on a caffeine high.”
Cracking the B.C. U21 roster for the Canadian Open is a huge feather in both players’ ball caps. They’re the two youngest players on the squad – Jenner is 16, and Lundrigan is 15.
But their skills are precocious. They were teammates last summer on the B.C. U16 squad that won gold at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, and both players were among the tourney leaders in batting average.
The provincial U21 squad will cut a few more athletes before heading into the rest of its summer schedule, but Lundrigan said she’s thrilled to be with the team at least through the Canadian Open.
“It was really nerve-wracking, getting there (to tryouts) and you see all these girls, and they’re talking about being at SFU,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I still have two more years of high school!'”
Jenner said she’s excited to see the calibre of pitching at a major international event.
“I feel like it’s going to be a lot faster,” she said. “It’s going to be a great experience.”
• Five Abbotsford Outlaws rep squads will participate in the Canadian Open, and Abbotsford’s Dave Paetkau is an assistant coach with the Canadian senior team which will compete in the women’s international division. For more information, visit canadianopenfastpitch.com.