CANADA The Canadian women's baseball team honors the late longtime...

The Canadian women’s baseball team honors the late longtime player during the Friendship Series against the United States.


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Members of the Canadian women’s national baseball team wear jerseys with the #19 on the back during practice. The number honors their late teammate Amanda Asay, who died in January and was fired by the team. (Mark Doucette/CBC)

With a heavy heart, the Canadian women’s baseball team plays its first game against an international team in three years this week.

Canada and the United States compete in a five-game women’s baseball friendship series that began Thursday and ends Monday at Baseball Central in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

This is Team Canada’s first competitive streak since 2019 due to the pandemic, but a familiar face is missing.

Amanda Asay, one of the longest serving members of the national team, died in a skiing accident in January at the age of 33.

  • WATCH | Canadian manager Ashley Stephenson remembers girlfriend Amanda Asey:

Team Canada manager Ashley Stevenson talks about her friend Amanda Asey

2 days ago

Duration 0:25

The Canadian women’s baseball team is playing in Thunder Bay, Ontario this weekend, and they’re playing in honor of their friend and former teammate Amanda Asey, who died earlier this year.

Ashley Stephenson, who made her debut as Team Canada manager this week, fought for the diamond alongside Asya for 14 years of her playing career and then coached her for the last couple of years.

“Amanda was my good friend. She was probably my best teammate. An incredible opponent – she was our leader, our captain,” said Stevenson, struggling to hold back tears, after team practice before the start of the series. .

“This is the first year she hasn’t been with us since 2005, [when] she started. So it will be an emotional time for our group. She was a competitor and we’re going to make sure we play the right game for her.”

Before the start of the first game on Thursday, Asai was observed with a moment of silence as her parents, Loris and George, were greeted on the field.

Asai’s parents, Loris and George, were honored at the start of the game between Team Canada and Team USA in Thunder Bay. Asai was a key part of the squad. She died earlier this year at the age of 33. (Mark Doucette/CBC)

Canadian players wear a special patch on the right sleeve with the word Ace – a nickname for Asay – and its number 19. Earlier this year, the national women’s team retired this number. All players wear #19 on their practice jerseys.

Both a pitcher and first baseman, Asai joined the national team in 2005. She was a five-time Women’s Baseball World Cup medalist playing for Canadian teams that won silver in 2008 and 2016 and bronze in 2006, 2012 and 2016. 2018.

Asai was also a key member of the Canadian team that won silver at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, where women’s baseball was included in major multisport games for the first time.

Asai has twice been recognized as the most valuable player of the national team, receiving this award in 2006 and 2016.

Açai, shown here, died in January in a skiing accident. During the International Friendly Series in Thunder Bay, Team Canada manager Ashley Stevenson said that Asai was a good friend and “probably the best teammate I’ve ever had”. (HO-Baseball Canada/The Canadian Press/File)

Claire Eccles, an outfielder and pitcher from Surrey, British Columbia, spent eight years on the national team – all of them, still with Asai.

“She was a huge, huge part of the team,” Eccles said. “There is definitely a void there. I played with her from the age of 16 and got into the team for the first time. I never took the field without her.

“I think she is in our hearts for all of us. We are definitely playing for her this year. She deserves respect for everything she’s done.”

  • WATCH | Claire Ackles says Amanda Asey is at the heart of the team:

Claire Ackles reveals what Amanda Asey meant to Team Canada

2 days ago

Duration 0:29

Claire Ackles says the loss of Amanda leaves a “huge void” in the team as Team Canada prepares to play the United States in the Women’s Friendship Series in Thunder Bay.

Zoe Hicks, who plays at third base, is also in Thunder Bay and is playing for Team Canada for the first time.

She said that while she did not know Asai personally, her legacy and presence is still felt throughout the program.

“She just showed everyone how to do everything. As she did everything, so she did everything,” Hicks said. “She represented Canada in the best possible way. On the field, off the field, in the offseason, in the season, she has always been the most hardworking, asking the right questions.

“She just inspired everyone.”

  • WATCH | Zoe Hicks says Amanda Esai inspired:

Zoe Hicks talks about Amanda Asay’s enduring legacy on Team Canada

2 days ago

Duration 0:37

Zoe Hicks is new to Canada’s women’s baseball team, but says her legacy is still felt as they kick off their exhibition streak against Team USA.

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