A serendipitous development is bringing the U20 Men’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championships back to Napanee this summer, one year earlier than expected. Between Tuesday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, eight teams from across the country will be competing at the Napanee Fairgrounds to become the national champion.
Bryan Brooks, a member of the Softball Napanee Executive who volunteered to chair the event, could not be more excited. “March of this year we put in to host in 2023…[and] we were awarded that in late May,” he said. However, “in early June, there started to be some logistics problems with the  hosts in Newfoundland.”
As a result, the event was not able to proceed as planned, and Softball Canada contacted Napanee.
Brooks went on, “So, we were offered 2022 and, given the economic circumstances in our area, we thought it was a great boost to bring the event back to town… and now we’re just picking up 2022 to go with 2023. So, we’re quite excited.”
Napanee previously hosted the Canadian Championship event in 2015 and 2018. The Napanee AFW Express won the championship in 2018 with Brooks coaching.
Brooks explained that the host team is automatically granted a berth into the championships, so Softball Canada chooses a host that is already active at the championship level. “Our U19 team last year, which is the same team this year, actually won the eastern Canadian championships – so, they’re a really competitive team.”
In addition, each province determines how many teams they’re going to send. Brooks pointed out, “This year, there’s actually a Canada Summer Games here… it’s been delayed because of COVID, but it will take place in Grimsby this year. So, some provinces like BC and Newfoundland have opted not to attend this year’s [Nationals] event because they’re already going to be [travelling to those Games] in a couple of weeks. And so, we are ending up with two teams from Saskatchewan, [one from] Quebec, [one from] Nova Scotia, and four teams from Ontario.”
Brooks is hopeful to see an influx of 5,000 people coming to the Napanee area for the week to take in the event.
In a written statement, Softball Canada President Scott Neiles called the Championship “a great opportunity for [players] to test [their] skills against the best in Canada, and while doing so, see some of the beauty of this great country.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of the volunteers for their involvement in our Canadian Championships. Through your hard work, perseverance, and dedication to the sport of softball, you make our Championships possible!” he said.
Neiles also extended an invitation to spectators, calling them an “integral part of any Canadian Championship” who “bring out the best in our athletes and our officials because you generate the interest and promote the drive for them to perform at their very best. By attending our championships, you not only help make the event financially possible, but also more enjoyable.”
The first day, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, will be a soft start with each of the teams playing one game and attending a reception banquet in the evening. Then, the host team will play at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with championship finals being played Saturday and Sunday.
The U20 Men’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championship will offer daily and weekly passes for attending spectators. Daily ticket prices are as follows: Tuesday to Friday games are $10 per day, and Saturday and Sunday will be $15 per day. Alternatively, fans can purchase a $50 Weekly Tournament Pass, good for all games.
For more information or to follow the action as it unfolds, visit Softball Canada’s event website.