July 20, 2011
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Former Florida State University student-athlete Kaleigh Rafter will represent Team Canada at the sixth annual World Cup of Softball that begins Thursday in Oklahoma City, Okla., at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The event runs from July 21-25 and will have nearly all of the United States’ games televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.
Rafter, born in Guelph, Ontario, came to Florida State for her senior season in 2009 after spending three years at Detroit-Mercy. The talented catcher and first baseman made the most of her lone year as a Seminole, compiling a .333 batting average with 11 home runs, 42 RBIs, 11 doubles and a .585 slugging percentage. She finished the season as an All-ACC First Team performer, first-team all-region, All-ACC Tournament Team and earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
Rafter, who was a two-time Horizon League Player of the Year, was part of Team Canada’s run in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games that saw it finish fourth. At the time, she hit a three-run home run in the eighth game against the Netherlands to make her one of the youngest players ever to record a round-tripper at a softball Olympic event, in which she was just 21 years old.
The Seminole alum’s three seasons in the Horizon League made her well-known throughout the collegiate softball circuit. At Detroit-Mercy, Rafter batted .359 with 12 home runs as a sophomore, and produced an even better junior year in 2007 when she recorded a .413 average with 14 home runs. She also ended her junior campaign by making the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America First Team.
“It is always fun to see players have the ability to play after college,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda, who aided in the development of the Canadian National Team. “Kaleigh has been very fortunate to travel the world because of this game. It is great that she gets another opportunity to play in such an exciting event hosted by a great place like Oklahoma City.”
Team Canada recently hosted the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch Women’s International Championship in Surrey, British Columbia. Rafter and her teammates competed against several other countries, and even upended defending Olympic champion Japan on July 12 in a 1-0 victory where the former FSU standout went 1-for-3.
Rafter and the Canadian National Team will face off against the United States on ESPN2 this Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. The six-team event will also feature Japan, Australia, Great Britain and the Czech Republic. Team Canada begins play against Japan on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET, and will play five more games before participating in the seeded round on Monday. The championship game will feature the top two seeds with the best records from the round robin format on Monday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
“Going to Oklahoma and playing in the world cup of softball has always been one of my favorite events,” Rafter added. “Getting the opportunity to play in the field where softball gained its popularity through the college game has always been a neat experience. They always draw great crowds and the fans are so knowledgeable about the game. It is a world class event with a competitive field this year which should display some great softball.”
Ticket and event information can be found on softballoutlet.com.