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Baseball-playing girls get a league of their own in Surrey this summer

Baseball BC to launch regional league at Lionel Courchene Park starting June 22
Female baseball players practice the game. Baseball BC is launching the province’s first B.C. girls baseball league, coming to Surrey Canadian Baseball Association’s Lionel Courchene Park starting in June. (Photo courtesy Baseball BC)

Baseball BC is bringing an all-girls league to a Surrey park to help grow the game among female players in this province.

Games will be played in June, July and August at Lionel Courchene Park (9900 154 St.), home of Surrey Canadian Baseball Association.

Guildford is also home to Baseball BC, for which Scott MacKenzie is director of operations and a co-ordinator of the new all-girls league with Team Canada player Liz Gilder.

Both believe it’s time for baseball-playing girls to have a league of their own in B.C.

“It’s the first one of its kind in B.C.,” MacKenzie noted. “It’s something that we’ve been wanting to execute for many, many years now, and it’s finally come to fruition.”

Last February a call was issued for young girls (aged seven to 12) to play in the new league, and registration remains open for the two divisions (U9 and U12). Details are posted on the website

“All games will be on Saturdays for eight weeks starting June 22,” MacKenzie explained. “Girls teams from all over the Lower Mainland can come to one location weekly, to start.”

CLICK HERE to watch a promo video posted four months ago.

Prior to the league start, Baseball BC is planning another Amanda Asay Jamboree & Festival for girls, on May 11 in Burnaby, in tribute to the former national team player. “Amanda was a real pioneer of the girls game who died tragically two years ago (in a skiing accident), unfortunately,” MacKenzie said.

Team Canada pitcher Liz Gilder is an organizer of the province’s first B.C. girls baseball league, coming to Surrey’s Lionel Courchene Park. (Contributed photo)

Like Asay, Gilder has worn a Team Canada jersey on the baseball diamond. She’s a pitcher, and at age 23 aims to play at the 2024 Women’s Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Ont., this August. Right now she’s also focused on getting B.C.’s all-girls league off the ground.

“I think this league is really an opportunity for girls to experience playing baseball with other girls and to me, personally, it’s really important for that to happen,” Gilder said in a phone call.

“I grew up playing baseball with guys (in Coquitlam). While playing baseball with them really helped me from a competitive standpoint, impacted me in a lot of ways and is one of the reasons for my success in other areas of my life, there were aspects that weren’t always super fantastic,” add Gilder, who now lives in Maple Ridge.

“I had a very supportive group of guys around me, but I always felt like I needed to prove myself because I was always the only girl. So any errors that I made, in my head they were amplified by 10 because I felt like I wasn’t just playing for myself, I was playing to prove that girls belonged in baseball.

“So I think that this league creates an opportunity for these girls to see other girls playing baseball and realize that they’re not the only ones who do it, and to really start start growing the game among girls.”

Baseball remains a male-dominated sport, MacKenzie confirmed.

“As the provincial sport organization we’re encouraging the associations in B.C. — Little League is one and BC Minor another, to also have all-girl leagues,” he said. “For now, this new league will be run by Baseball BC, but the goal is to create it and then have Little League and BC Minor assume it in the future.”

Registration is open for girls teams and players already with an association, MacKenzie noted.

“I don’t know how many girls teams are out there at the moment, but they’re mostly in the younger divisions, playing against boys,” he said. “The truth is, girls are sometimes better at that younger age than boys, and it quickly changes at six, seven, eight years of age.

“With the new league,” he added, “we hope it’s a place where young girls will develop confidence, leadership and, you know, love of sport, love of baseball. Our goal is to provide a supportive and safe space that encourages growth on and off the field, a sense of belonging and community where girls feel safe to try new things and learn and grow.”

Gilder sees girls baseball at a place where women’s hockey was 10 years ago, “where the game is growing and there’s a lot of potential to have professional women’s baseball leagues. We’re not quite there yet, though, and it starts at the grassroots level with this, an all-girls league like this.”

Surrey is a good central location for the league, she added. “Surrey Canadian Baseball Association was kind enough to offer up their park in support of the league, so we thank them for doing that.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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