Emma Frisky also plays for the 222’s elite softball program based in Saskatoon (Submitted photo)

Emma Frisky of Martensville will be wearing the Maple Leaf as a member of Canada’s U18 Women’s National Softball squad when she takes to the field in Monteria, Colombia at the end of March.

The young pitcher was one of two Saskatchewan athletes selected for the national junior women’s softball team. She and her 15 teammates will go head-to-head against ten other nations in the 2024 WBSC Americas Pan American Championship in South America from March 30 to April 6. The top five teams from the event will advance to the 2024 WBSC U18 Women’s Softball World Cup later this year.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was five years old and first started playing ball,” said Emma. “Right now I am feeling honoured and grateful for the amazing opportunity to play for our country.

“I’m going to take this opportunity and be a learner of the game, absorbing as much as I can from the older girls,” she added. “I’m going to continue to work hard every day, never give up, and overcome challenges in the hopes of one day playing for Canada in the Olympics.”

The Canadian U18 team roster was announced by Softball Canada February 26 following invitational identification camps earlier that month in BC, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The final selection of athletes by head coach Keith Mackintosh  of Melfort, and assistant coaches Trevor Ethier of Saskatoon and Melissa Basilio of Oshawa, Ontario, was also based on scouting efforts at major tournaments, including the national U15 championship in Brandon, during the 2023 season.

Frisky began playing softball in her hometown of Tisdale when she was about four or five years old, according to her mother, Tracy Frisky.

“She’s always loved the game, ever since she first stepped on the field when she  was really little,” said Tracy. “She started pitching at a very young age, and she’s always worked hard to develop her talent. She’s had a lot of really good coaches and mentors that have helped her along the way.”

Emma Frisky pitching for the Twin City Angels (photo submitted)

Emma played minor softball in the Melfort Spirit Softball program until she and her family moved to Martensville two years ago. At that time, she brought her blazing drop fastball (clocked at 64 miles per hour), rise ball (61 mph), drop curve and change-up to the Twin City Angels U15A softball team that won the Saskatchewan provincial championship last year. She  and her teammates also put on a strong showing at the national championship in Brandon.

When she’s not on the mound, she’s making plays at shortstop or third base; and hitting solid doubles as lead-off batter.

Tracy said the move to Martensville was a positive step for her daughter. The proximity to Saskatoon gave Emma the opportunity to attend the Softball Academy at Tommy Douglas Collegiate, where Trevor Ethier coaches. She also plays in the 222’s elite softball program during the winter, travelling to tournaments in the United States.

“I have many amazing influences that have guided me along my journey,” said Emma. “I grew up playing ball for Spirit Softball in the North East and I now actively play for Twin City Angels. The 222’s Fastpitch with Keith Mackintosh, Dean Holoien and Rayzor has helped me grow as a person and a softball player. The Tommy Douglas Softball Academy has also had a role in my development.”

Twin City Angels Softball Association President Heather Chatfield said having one of their players chosen to represent Canada on the world stage is a huge thrill.

“Emma is one of the younger players to make the roster,” said Chatfield. “She was born in 2008, and most of her teammates were born in 2006, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Emma also mentors younger players in the Twin City Angels program, helping out with indoor practices during the pre-season.

While Emma has locked up a spot on the U18 national squad, she’s ironically still looking to make the final cut for Team Saskatchewan for the 2025 Canada Summer Games in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

“She’s still trying out for the provincial Canada Games team,” said Tracy. “They have to cut down to the top 40 players in April.”

Other members of the Twin City Angels squad looking to make the Canada Summer Games Team Saskatchewan roster include Alexis Kreese, Ashlyn Chatfield and Jessica Prosofsky. The team’s invitation camp will be held April 27 in Saskatoon, while the final selection camp is scheduled for July in Regina.

With the international experience of playing against the top young players from Latin America and the Caribbean in late March and early April, Frisky will be a sure bet to  carry the colours for Team Sask at the 2025 Canada Games.

Who’s on the team, and what is this tournament?

Eleven nations are set to compete in the upcoming 2024 WBSC Americas Pan American Championship from March 30 – April 6 in Montería, Colombia.

The Pan American Championship is grouped into two divisions for the preliminary round. Team Canada finds itself in Group B, alongside Brazil, Cuba, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Group A features, Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru. The top three teams will advance to the Super Round, with the top five teams at the end of the event securing spots in the 2024 WBSC U18 Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage.

The World Cup Group Stages have been awarded to Sao Paolo, Brazil (Group A – July 23-27), Pingtan, China (Group B – August 14-18) and Dallas, USA (Group C – August 29 to September 2).

The athletes who will represent Canada at the Pan American Championship are: Chloe Bethune (Lindell Beach, B.C.),, CeCe  Brown (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Chantal  Carriere (Brampton, Ont), Alexia Chevrier (St-Lazare, Que.), Caitlin Colley (Stouffville, Ont.) Rayelle Cooley (Oxbow, Sask.) Emma Frisky (Martensville, Sask.), Madeline Hallman (St. George, Ont.), Tegan Harnett (Maple Ridge, B.C.) Lauren Lugtigheid (Langley, B.C.), Danika Nell (Boissevain, Man.), Morgan Reimer (Langley, B.C.), Taitumn Reynen (Langford, B.C.), Rylee Ruppel (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Katherine Thiessen (Lloydminster, Alta), Jana Want (Stoney Creek, Ont.)

The coaching staff includes: Head Coach Keith Mackintosh (Melfort, Sask.), Assistant Coach Melissa Basilio (Oshawa, Ont.), Assistant Coach Trevor Ethier (Saskatoon, Sask.), Athletic Trainer Nikki Antonopoulos (Toronto, Ont.), Manager Angela Ballantyne (Ottawa, Ont.)