Thunder Bay

Canada, U.S. women's national baseball teams to square off in Thunder Bay this summer

Baseball Canada announced last week that the city will host an international five-game series between the Canadian and U.S. women’s national teams. The Women’s Baseball Friendship Series will run from July 28 through Aug. 1.

National teams set to play five game series July 28 - Aug 1.

Canada's Kelsy Laylor, right, celebrates with teammate Nicole Luchanski after scoring during Canada's women's baseball action at the Pan American Games in 2015. Thunder Bay will host a five-game international series against the U.S. later this summer. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press)

Thunder Bay will welcome back elite baseball later this year after a couple of quiet summers on the diamond.

Baseball Canada announced last week that the city will host an international five-game series between the Canadian and U.S. women's national teams. The Women's Baseball Friendship Series will run from July 28 through Aug. 1.

Nick Melchiorre, the vice president of the Thunder Bay International Baseball Association, said it's exciting to bring the event to the city.

"These are the best baseball players in the world on the women's side," he said.

The series will mark the first international competition for the two sides since the COPABE Women's Pan American Championships in 2019. The two teams are both in the top-five of the world rankings.

Canada's starting pitcher Sara Groenewegen throws during women's baseball match at the Pan American Games in 2015. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press)

"Fans in Thunder Bay can expect a highly entertaining series between two nations that always compete hard against one another," said Baseball Canada CEO Jason Dickson in a written statement.

"The chance to represent your country on home soil is a special opportunity that we're excited to provide our athletes later this year."

Thunder Bay is no stranger to hosting international baseball competitions, having previously held the 2017 U-18 Baseball World Cup and the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship.

Hosting those events meant Baseball Central, where this year's games will be played, received upgrades to bring the facility to international standards.

There's also been a legacy of increasing interest in the sport locally, Melchiorre added.

"Baseball Canada and Baseball U.S.A. committed to hosting some clinics for girls and boys when they're here to inspire them," he said. "Over the years, we've had a number of children and youth who have assisted at tournaments and now play baseball."

The Thunder Bay Border Cats, a team in the summer collegiate Northwoods League, have missed the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing border issues.

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