Future looks bright for Canada’s youngest pitcher
Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn Cater isn’t having a typical summer vacation.
Photo by Vince Fedoroff
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE – Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn Cater impressed teammates and fans alike at the ISF Women’s World Championships.
Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn Cater isn’t having a typical summer vacation. Instead, the teenager is lighting up the field as rookie pitcher and youngest member of Team Canada at the ISF Women’s World Fastpitch Championships which wrapped up in Whitehorse on Sunday evening.
The Surrey B.C. native cites her previous experience with the junior national team as an important factor in helping her to prepare for being a part of the official national team.
“I think it helped me overcome my international inexperience. We didn’t do so well when I went to junior worlds but I think it taught me a lot about other players who I would be competing against,” Cater said, reflecting on the experience.
As a member of the junior team, Cater also faced the challenge of being one the youngest players on the roster, an issue that was amplified when she became a member of the senior Canadian team this year.
Cater considers the age gap between her teammates and herself to be one of the major obstacles she had to overcome while preparing for the tournament
“I am younger and people might have different perceptions about that. I think one of the challenges was getting to be friends with the other girls and being able to relate to the rest of the team,” she explained.
Fortunately, Cater was able to connect with and become close to her teammates.
For her, the dynamic between the Team Canada players became one of the best parts of the experience of playing in a World Championship. It was also educational for the rookie, who credits her veteran teammates with helping her along.
Cater cites the guidance of veteran pitchers Jenna Caira and Danielle Lawrie in particular..
“They’ve been playing internationally for so long, being able to talk with them about everything and figuring out how they play makes it a lot better,” Cater said.
When she is on the mound, Cater also relies on veteran catcher Kaleigh Rafter.
Rafter’s long experience with the team means “she knows every player during the international games. If I don’t know something, she can teach me,” Cater explained.
Learning and gaining experience is exactly what Cater has been trying to do throughout the tournament.
“I think I’ll be on this team for a few more years at least. It is one of my goals to learn as much as I can from the older players and the other teams we are playing,” Cater said.
Team Canada had hoped to end the tournament on the podium in one of the top three spots but fell short of that goal, landing in fourth place in the tournament’s final standings.
Despite the lower-than expected outcome, Cater commended the organization of the tournament, Whitehorse as a host, and the beauty of the Yukon.
“It’s great that it’s here. I love being in the Yukon and I think it’s great that other countries get to see this part of Canada because not a lot of people get that chance,” Cater noted when asked about the tournament as a whole.
Though this Worlds’ will hopefully be one of many for Cater, it is particularly meaningful because it is her first.
“I think coming to this Worlds means so much because I worked so hard to get here. Even if I don’t play every game I still love the experience,” Cater said.
Despite sitting out in some of the more significant matches, Cater’s impressive showing in the games she did play makes her one to watch in coming years. With youth and a drive to learn, Cater is poised to become one Team Canada’s future stars.
Special to the Star by Paige Parsons