Subway Sluggers hope for diamond glory at World Masters Games

New Zealand's a long way to go for a game of softball, but not when you're as passionate about the sport as the Subway Sluggers.

Island team one of two softball squads heading to New Zealand for huge event

Wilma Ramsay (left) and Carol Wayne are among 18 members of the Subway Sluggers heading to Auckland, New Zealand for the World Masters Games. (CBC)

A women's softball team is going from slugging it out on one tiny island to taking on the world on a larger island on the other side of the planet.

The Subway Sluggers is one of two squads from P.E.I. making the journey to the World Masters Games, which take place in Auckland, New Zealand, from April 21 to 30.

The Sluggers are competing in the 45-plus division, with players between 45 and 59 years of age.

They had also competed in the last games in Italy in 2013, and knew then they wanted to come back for more.

"It was within the month that we decided," Sluggers coach Carol Mayne told Matt Rainnie on Island Morning. "People wanted to go back to experience that feeling once again. And just that feeling of having the Maple Leaf on.

Carol Mayne coaching the 2013 Sluggers team that went to the games in Italy.

"I recall we were on the outskirts of Turin, and I was walking across the field and this guy said, 'Go Canada!' and I was like, 'Oh isn't that nice," and then I realized a couple of steps later, he was talking to me! So it was a very easy decision for the group to go again."

The team going to Auckland will be made up of 18 people, including 14 players.

Wilma Ramsay plays third base, and is a veteran of the team that went to Italy.

"As the weeks went on we improved drastically," she said. "We had a good showing, I think that we did well, we expect to do better. But the competition we expect to be much higher in New Zealand-Australia. They are big softball countries, so we do expect another tough go."

Largest Games

The World Masters Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world, with 25,000 athletes involved in 28 different sports.

While the spectacle is one of the reasons the team wants to return, they also have a huge passion for the sport, said Mayne.

Over 25,000 athletes will converge on Auckland for the World Masters Games. (World Masters Games)

"We have a player who lives in North Cape, and can see the windmills from her window," she said. "And she drives down for all the games, along with several other people from the western part of P.E.I. We have a couple of players from New Brunswick, so the level of commitment and the hours that have gone into this is just phenomenal, and certainly the girls are to be credited for all their hard work, their effort, their dedication."

Ramsay said she's been playing since she was ten, and has no plans to quit.

"I always get asked, oh do you still play ball? Yeah, why wouldn't I play ball? The age is never a question."

The Sluggers have already met their first goal. Team members and families managed to raise the $100,000 needed for the trip, thanks to donations and sponsorship.

From the Island Morning interview by Matt Rainnie