'A sport to love:’ teams from Guyana, Canada, in Halifax for women’s baseball
The first 21U women's tournament is in Halifax this weekend, hosting Guyana's first amateur baseball team
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A team of young women in pink polos watched the ball crack against the bat, sailing overhead as one player sprinted to home base amid cheers and clapping from the coach.
For the next four days, Halifax and Team Nova Scotia are welcoming teams from Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, British Columbia, and Guyana (a Caribbean country on South America’s north Atlantic coast) for the first 21U (21 and under) women’s invitational tournament.
Emily Ransuchit, 15, and Keitsha Hicks, 19, said Wednesday during a practice at the Mainland Field it was “quite amazing” to be in Canada since most of the girls hadn’t travelled internationally before.
“We only competed against guys [in Guyana] so we will feel the challenge. I know we will have challenges but we’ve got to face it, so we’re here to be dedicated and committed,” Hicks said.
“ - and most of all have fun,” Ransuchit added with a smile.
Although the girls said it was “rather chilly” Wednesday compared to the near-40 degree heat they’re used to, it was perfect baseball weather.
Holly Lapierre, chair of the host commitee, said having international teams in the tournament gives women's baseball a boost locally, especially since this is the first year this age bracket was created.
Since Guyana is mostly a cricket country, baseball only began three years ago as part of a high school curriculum in certain areas. It picked up speed especially amongst girls, coach Robin Singh said.
“We’re the first team of a new sport in the country. It’s great, we make history,” Ransuchit said.
“Something about it is catchy, and it is a game to love, a sport to love.”
Singh said he started the Guyana Baseball League for his own kids to have more “stretch in the world” besides cricket.
It was just last year that Singh said he ran into a representative of Baseball Canada during a tournament in Cuba, who said many women’s tournaments here would be happy to have the Guyana team.
They started seriously training in January, and by March Singh said he looked around for an opportunity and found Halifax.
After a few days in Toronto seeing some sights and riding the subway, which Singh said was an experience in itself for many girls, they were out “shaking off the rust” in practice before the games began Thursday.
“It empowers them because girls actually own the sport in Guyana, because it was new and they had an equal opportunity to get in … now the boys are a bit jealous,” Singh said.
“Why should the first tour always be boys? Girls are doing well, they’re organized, let them go.”