Elnora Eagles represent Canada at Junior League World Series

Eagles World Series 2019

In early July, the Elnora Eagles were fortunate to end the regular season with winning the Softball Alberta U16 B Provincial Championship in Strathmore. This made the Elnora Eagles back-to-back provincial gold medalists for 2018 and 2019. Being a younger team in their U16 age category, this was an exciting achievement!

Beginning July 22, both the U16 and U19 Eagles teams hosted Little League Nationals in Elnora.

After looking up to the older girls traveling to Delaware for the World Series last summer, our younger Eagles dreamed that one day they, too, might get the opportunity. So, it was quite a thrill when the girls won the national event in Elnora and had to quickly pack their bags and prepare for the flight - Little League was sending them to represent Canada in the Junior Softball World Series in Kirkland, Washington!

As the older Eagles team had discovered last year, the World Series experience is one that the girls will remember all their lives. From the feelings of pride and emotion singing the national anthem during the opening ceremonies, to the relationships built with players from across the world, it is difficult to fully describe the joy of the experience.

We were proud of our Eagles for being competitive with the U.S. teams that had practiced most of the year and battled for a month - from their local area, to state then regionals - to earn a spot at the championship. The highlight, though, was defeating the Asia - Pacific representative, the Philippines. This talented team was coming in hot, with wins of 12-2 and 21-5 over the American teams. With our players still feeling a little defeated from the morning’s loss, tremendous coaching encouraged our slightly intimidated rural Alberta girls to be positive, do their best, and have fun. Their smiles got bigger and bigger as the game went on, ending in a Team Canada 4-3 win over the Philippines!

Other highlights included the special moment the team received their red Canada jersey and uniform, bat, cleats and World Series ball bag! The team also enjoyed a win over the spirited, singing Italians who represented Europe - Africa, dancing and having fun with the other teams at Girls’ Night, and performing at the Awards Banquet. Shortly after landing in Seattle, the coaches surprised the girls with a trip to a Seattle Mariners’ game! This was an MLB first for many of the girls - and coaches - and was only possible due to the generosity of our friends and families who quietly donated to support the team on their journey. Throughout the tournament, the Eagles - Team Canada - were featured live on ESPN with professional sports commentators reporting their plays; you can bet we’ve replayed every game highlight a few hundred times! When softball was done early enough in the day, there was time to enjoy the sunshine, beach, and paddleboarding on Lake Washington. We had a beautiful host family in the Sullivans, who always ensured that we knew the best spots to visit and eat; they hosted a team barbecue at the diamonds, washed our ball uniforms regularly, and became special friends. Lastly, the girls will always remember the fun they had and the relationships they built with the players from other teams. By the end of the week, the Canadian, Texas and Italian players were packed into hotel rooms together sharing stories and laughing until the wee hours of the final morning before they had to say goodbye.