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UBC Okanagan takes first steps in fielding women’s softball team

Joni Frei was named head coach of UBCO’s softball team on March 20. The team will begin play in the Western Collegiate Softball Association this September.
Joni Frei was named head coach of UBCO’s softball team on March 20. The team will begin play in the Western Collegiate Softball Association this September. UBC Okanagan

One month ago, UBC Okanagan in Kelowna officially expanded its sports program with a women’s softball team.

On Saturday, the first steps to fielding that team took place, with UBCO hosting a tryout session. Approximately 30 players were expected, according to new head coach Joni Frei.

From Kelowna, Frei was announced as UBCO’s skipper on March 20. The month prior, on Feb. 28, UBCO was officially welcomed into the Western Collegiate Softball Association (WCSA), becoming the league’s seventh team.

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“UBC Okanagan is very excited to be joining the WCSA and finally bringing college softball to the interior of B.C. and a B.C. team to the WCSA,” said Darren Bennett of UBCO’s steering committee.

“We’ve had a great response from players, parents and the entire Okanagan softball community. We look forward to fielding a competitive team this year and for years to come.”

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WCSA president Randy Plishka said UBCO joining the fold was the culmination of almost two years of work from some dedicated Kelowna believers.

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The WCSA is a fall league, with UBCO starting play this September. The other six university teams are Calgary, Lethbridge, Regina and Saskatchewan plus Briercrest College and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

A UBCO spokesperson said roster-wise, the initial target will be 14 to 15 players, though that was preliminary.

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Frei’s biography includes being head coach of Team B.C. at the North American Indigenous Games, director of coaching for Softball B.C., assistant coach for Mercer University and Kennesaw State University, and a former player at Georgia College and State University.

For more about the WCSA, click here.