When Canada’s junior women’s softball team took to the field in Taiwan last month, one of its players had a Fort Frances connection.
Teri Herbert, a utility infielder who lives in Red Deer, Alta., is the granddaughter of Joe and Bertha Ossachuk and Mr. and Mrs. George Herbert of here. She is the daughter of Cookie and John Herbert.
She was one of 17 players who made the team from the 35 from across Canada invited to the national tryout camp in Calgary.
Herbert, 17, who makes a roughly 90-minute trip each game to play with the Calgary Double Diamond Renegades, helped lead the national team to a seventh-place finish out of 17 teams competing at the world championships.
They finished the round-robin with a 5-2 record before bowing out 1-0 to Australia.
Herbert, who had a triple at the tournament, said it was her team’s lack of hitting that prevented them from getting past strong-pitching teams like Australia.
Defensively, she said they could play with any team in the world.
Considered a strong all-around player, who can be inserted into the lineup at either third, short, second, or pitcher, Herbert said she was thrilled to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime dream of playing for her country at the junior level.
It was an experience she’ll never forget.
“When I went to camp and I made [the team], it never really sunk in until I was there and I was playing with the Canadian emblem on my back,” said Herbert.
Herbert admitted she was impressed with the top-notch diamonds they played on in Taipei, and the crowds at times were in the neighborhood of 5,000-plus.
Still, she admitted she wasn’t fazed by the pressure of playing for her country.
“At times I was nervous but I was all right,” said Herbert, who split second base duties with another player at the worlds. “I was never going to see those fans again so it wasn’t too nerve-wracking.”
Herbert won’t be eligible for the next world junior tournament when it rolls around in four years, forcing her to try out for the national senior team next time. But that shouldn’t prove to be too big of a challenge for someone whose ultimate goal is to represent Team Canada at the Olympics.
In the meantime, the grade 12 student at Notre Dame will hone her skills at the University of Tennessee (Chattanooga), a NCAA Division I softball mecca.
She will be joining an Edmontonian who played there last season, which she admits will make her transition to the southern state much easier.
Also helping to ease the transition is the fact Herbert will be joining what she called a “very good” program that’s definitely on the upswing.
She also attracted interest from universities in Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas (Waco), Niagara, N.Y., Maine, and Iowa.