Women's fastball program looking for return to action

Women's fastball is alive at the collegiate level. The next goal is to make it well.

The University of Lethbridge has had an on-again off-again relationship with women's fastball and Bill Halma would like to see a strong return next fall. In order to do so, he needs the word out now that the program is ready to roll.

"We've got about eight to 10 ladies very interested in playing but we need 14 to 16, of which we probably need at least two to three solid pitchers. That's been a real problem for us in the past," says Halma, manager, programs for Sport and Recreation Services, adding that the program is also searching for a coach.

Women's fastball falls under the "semi-competitive" sport tag, along with U of L club sports like golf and curling. These are all self-funded activities that participate in leagues outside the auspices of official Canada West competition.

They have a following however and just because they have no official status now, that can always change ­– just see the history of women's rugby.

The U of L has fielded a women's fastball team for four of the last six seasons but after two years away from competition, Halma would like to see it restored this fall.

"Nobody comes here specifically to play women's fastball but if we were to have a strong program, maybe it's just another one of those activities available on campus that may help sway someone's decision to enroll here," he says. "We're always looking to provide our students with as many outlets as possible and this is one I think could be very popular."

Playing in the Alberta Intercollegiate Women's Fastball Association, the U of L would challenge a mix of university and college squads (allowing the U of L to also include Lethbridge College players). Beginning a schedule in early September and wrapping up around Thanksgiving, teams try to play three to five games in a weekend set. The challenge, of course, is finding field availability and compressing a schedule into a tight timeframe.

"We have a bit of a challenge here in Lethbridge because there is no formal fastball league anymore," Halma says. "Unfortunately, then we're only gaining players from outside the city of Lethbridge."

He currently has a core group of six to eight players regularly working out at an indoor facility in preparation for next fall. Anyone interested in joining the program can contact Halma at 403-329-5107 or via e-mail at