*article previously published in the Brampton Guardian January 10, 2016
Although she is heading to the West Coast of Canada, Brampton’s Amanda Janes should feel comfortable when she begins playing softball at Simon Fraser University in the fall of 2016.
Janes, who has been a long-time member of the Brampton Blazers girls softball program, is joining a Simon Fraser team that already has three other former Blazers: catcher/first base Samantha Ruffett and pitcher Jessica Tate, both currently freshmen, and sophomore shortstop/second baseman Victoria Saunders. Janes has also had several opportunities to visit the campus while playing in tournaments over the years.
While she is happy to be joining some friends, the big attraction is the quality of education she will get at the Burnaby university.
“The education program was the best of the universities I was looking at,” she said. Janes, an honour roll student at Brampton Centennial Secondary School would like to go to dental school with the goal of becoming an orthodontist.
Simon Fraser is the only Canadian school that plays a schedule against U.S. schools. Janes said there are benefits of staying in Canada for school, including getting an education that is recognized across the country and not having to worry about how the exchange rate might affect costs.
Janes has played 11 years of softball in the Blazers program. This summer though, she will be joining The Toronto Fastpitch Club 18 Gold, along with a number of former Blazers. That team is coached by longtime Blazer coach Al Spohn.
She has been part of a number of strong teams, wining three provincial gold medals and two silvers and has gone to several national championships. Janes has played catcher, first base and shortstop but catcher is the position she most enjoys.
“When you are a catcher you always have to think about the next play,” she said. Last year at the nationals she helped the Blazers finish fourth, batting .379. During the season she had a .368 batting average with 75 hits, including 12 doubles, and drove in 42 runs.
She had a tryout with the junior national team last year and the national coach has kept in touch with herm so Janes is hoping to get another chance this summer.
Simon Fraser head coach Mike Renney said Janes is part of one of the school’s best recruiting class ever.
“I first saw Amanda play at the U18 Nationals where she played three different positions in one game, and she played all three very well,” said Renney. “The other thing I like about Amanda is that she is a tough out at the plate and she will only get better.”