UBCO Heat women’s softball team head coach Joni Frei (left) has been involved with Canadian softball for years, including coaching Canada Futures, an intiative where a Canadian squad is formed for exhibition tours playing against U.S. university teams. (contributed)

Jitters not an issue for UBC Okanagan softball squad ahead of first-ever season

The women’s Heat squad starts their season Aug. 30

They haven’t played an official game together yet, but members of the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s softball team are ready for their inaugural season playing in the WCSA.

Just over six months ago, the idea of a collegiate level softball team in the Okanagan was simply that—an idea.

Now, with just two weeks of practice under their belts, the Heat will play their first game in the Western Collegiate Softball Association this weekend.

That might be scary for some coaches, but not for Heat skipper Joni Frei.

“We’re not focusing on any challenges other than overcoming them,” Frei said.

“It’s been pretty magical these past few weeks and we’re excited to get on the field and see what this team can do.

“But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and we’re looking forward to stepping out on the field everyday as a team.”

READ MORE: Securing Olympic spot the latest test for Canadian softball squad at B.C. tournament

Frei has been coaching softball her entire life. She grew up in Kelowna, graduated from Mount Boucherie Secondary and has coached at almost all levels of women’s softball.

Starting a collegiate level softball team in the Okanagan was something Frei looked into after returning to Canada from coaching in the U.S. almost 10 years ago.

Frei has recruited players from across Canada and the U.S. to fill out the UBCO roster.

While Frei’s experience was a big drawing point for some of the players, she has also put together a passionate, experienced and dedicated coaching staff to get the Heat program off the ground.

“There was no shortage of people wanting to help and support,” she said.

“We have 10 coaches, eight of them women and all hands are on deck. People are buying and owning their roles and that is what has made this team possible.”

READ MORE: Okanagan draws in Metro Vancouver softball star

Like most Canadian university sports programs, community support is needed to support the women’s softball team.

The Heat has secured support from Coca-Cola and Sun-Rype and is hoping to enhance that community investment in the future.

The challenge at the team’s outset will be to reward the community’s faith in the women’s softball program, she acknowledges.

“These girls are used to challenges,” said Frei.

“I like that they’re fresh and not fatigued from a long summer. We have depth, talent, numbers and a great coaching staff.

“We aim to compete in this league, and we’re going to do it in our own classy way.”

The UBCO Heat first game in the WCSA will be on their home diamond against the Calgary Dinos at Nigh Noon Park tonight (Friday), 6 p.m.

It will be familiar terrain for Frei as she often played softball at High Noon growing up in the Okanagan.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s fringe festival deemed a success

The festival has exceeded expectations, selling over 1,500 tickets

BC Wildfire Service to burn ten piles in Joe Rich

The service will begin the burning in late September and conclude by December of 2019

Motorcycle involved in multi-vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Kelowna

A man is being treated for injuries after he crashed his bike in an accident at Dilworth Drive intersection on Highway 97

West Kelowna’s stuggles continue as Warriors drop game in Merritt

The Warriors gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 Friday night

Kelowna Chiefs win in epic overtime battle in emotional memorial night to late owner

The Chiefs hounoured Grant Sheridan with a win in the team’s home-opener

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read