“It was like a dream”: this Quebec softball pitcher won her own “World Series” in the United States

Softball pitcher Léa Chevrier barely comes down from her cloud. For good reason, she is back in Quebec after leading her Florida SouthWestern College team last month to the NJCAA First Division National Championship.

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“It’s my top 1 of what I’ve been through in my life and it’s going to be hard to beat, she said, when met near a field in Rosaire-Gauthier Park, in Laval. When it had just happened, I told myself that it was not my life. It was like a dream.”

“It was the biggest competition of the year for American college teams, with only 16 clubs ranked [à travers les États-Unis], said the 19-year-old athlete from Saint-Lazare. It was the highest caliber possible for me this year.”

Not only is Chevrier a part of the championship team, but she played a big role as a rookie in the Buccaneers’ triumph, having stepped on the mound in the second inning to pitch six full innings in relief in the Grand Final. After this final 10-6 victory against Northwest Florida State, the athlete from Saint-Lazare concluded his first season in the United States with a record of 13-2, having also obtained six saves.

“Léa was extraordinary in this final, but she did what she has been doing for years, commented her former coach Brad Pelletier, a privileged witness of her progress for six years with the Quebec teams. She likes pressure. When the pressure is there, she does even better.”

Heading to the Canadian Championships

A proud competitor, Chevrier already has her eyes fixed on her next goal, which is to climb on the podium with the Quebec team in the under-23 category at the Canadian Fast Pitch Championships scheduled for August 16 to 20 in Île- Perrot.

She will then return to Florida with a first year of experience in her pocket.

“At the beginning, I felt a certain pressure because I wanted to do well as a Quebecer in the United States, but my parents advised me to simply play as before, noted this great ambassador of Softball Quebec. I just find it pleasant that fastball enthusiasts follow this and that they embark with the players from here in this experience.

If she receives the support of people in the community in Quebec, Chevrier agrees that softball – which has nothing to do with the ball-given – is much more recognized in the United States.

“Even though it’s smaller than the NCAA, college softball is surprisingly popular in the United States,” said the Quebecer, who is enjoying sudden popularity on social networks. There is even our final which was broadcast on the ESPN network.

Not hiding his love for social networks, Chevrier also took advantage of his time in the United States to study in the world of communications, management and sports management.

Photo provided by Softball Quebec

A duet with Emma Duncan

Taking advantage of a full scholarship to Florida SouthWestern College, she now hopes to be recruited by a varsity team for the 2024-2025 season. But until then, she thinks first and foremost of the next Canadian Championships.

“It’s going to be fun, in front of family and friends,” testified the Lazaroise.

Chevrier will then be one to watch on the mound, as will his teammate Emma Duncan, originally from Valleyfield, who for her part played this year at Western Texas College. The two were previously part, together, of the Quebec team that won the silver medal at the Canada Games in 2022. To draw a parallel with baseball, they are said to represent a bit of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, at the time of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, of the Quebec team.

“They are Quebec’s 1A and 1B pitchers, in order or out of order,” described Pelletier.

Quebec girls are less looked down on

Quebec softball players have long been shunned when it comes to selections for Canadian teams. The pitcher Léa Chevrier was herself a victim. However, a silver medal won by Quebec at the Canada Games in 2022 seems to want to shake up certain preconceived ideas.

“In 2020, no player on our team present at the Canada Games had been taken to the Canadian selection for the national junior team and that certainly served as motivation,” admitted Quebec coach Brad Pelletier.

“It was like a dream”: this Quebec softball pitcher won her own “World Series” in the United States

First step forward: Pelletier himself was appointed as an assistant coach on the national junior team. Decidedly, this 6 to 5 victory against Ontario, in the semi-finals of the Canada Games, had its effect.

“I’m going to fight for my players, I’m going to try to bring them to the national team, but for that, they obviously have to deserve it,” noted Pelletier, who also serves as head coach of the Quebec U17 team. I’m crossing my fingers that there are a few players from Quebec to have that chance.”

“It’s quite difficult for a Quebecer to find her place on the Canadian team,” said Chevrier. It seems that our talent is not recognized. I think we are making our place more and more. With our silver medal obtained at the Canada Games, we showed that there was talent in Quebec.

Dreaming about the Olympics

Failing to have been part of the Canadian junior team herself, Léa Chevrier could have served as a pioneer for her little sister, Alexia, a receiver who, among many others, has the potential to reach the team. national.

As for Léa, there are still days when they dream of representing Canada at the Olympic Games. Softball is not, however, one of the disciplines in Paris in 2024.

“We could think of the Los Angeles Games in 2028,” she said.

The reality remains: it’s even harder to make the senior team without having represented Canada at the junior level. And this is all the more true when some Americans, with Canadian descendants, have the opportunity to cross the border in the hope of participating in the biggest competitions.

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