Falardeau strikes gold, silver
It was a hectic baseball season filled with success for Zoe Falardeau.
The 16-year-old Welland native earned a pair of national baseball medals playing for Team Ontario in both the U21 and U16 girls divisions.
The Grade 11 student at Franco Niagara helped Team Ontario capture gold at the U21 championships in St. John’s, NFLD where she was the youngest member of the team, scored the game-winning run in the gold medal game and was named Most Valuable Player versus both Quebec and Saskatchewan.
“The gold was really exciting,” said Falardeau, who batted .467 with an on-base percentage of .636 and also earned a save on the mound in one of her two pitching performances.
Falardeau, who played both second base and shortstop, enjoyed the level of competition.
“It was really competitive. It’s obvious Ontario and Quebec are always the top two and sometimes BC as well so we knew that heading into it we had a good chance with the team we had.”
Falardeau also earned a silver at the U16 championships in Summerside, PEI where she picked up a pair of wins on the mound and also played in the middle infield.
As well, she suited up the Women’s National Championship in Halifax where she was the youngest member of the team.
“We placed fifth. It wasn’t our best weekend,” she said. “It’s the first tournament we didn’t get gold in five years.”
Falardeau also took part in the Major League Baseball Girls Elite Development Invitational in June at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla.
And if that wasn’t enough, she played locally for the Welland Jr. Jackfish U18 boys team.
The more time on the diamond, the better Falardeau feels.
“I liked it because I love playing the game. I enjoyed it all,” she said. “It’s mostly keeping your body in shape and making sure your arm is stretched out, doing your bands.”
She enjoyed her time in Welland with the boys squad, but admitted it is special to play with the girls.
“It’s nice. It’s different. You feel closer with the girls. I feel close with the guys too but it’s nice to have something different too,” she said.
With baseball done for the season, Falardeau has turned her attention to hockey where she skates for the Mississauga Jr. Hurricanes U22 Elite team.
“We trained all summer. It’s a high level of hockey and really nice to be part of,” she said.
More hockey could be in the future as well.
“For school, I would say hockey because there’s more opportunity for girls but I’m still aiming to play Team Canada and Team O baseball,” she said when asked about her future.
Dad Jay Falardeau and mom Julie Falardeau are super proud of their daughter.
“She’s put a lot of time and effort into it and she’s had to adapt to multiple different situations playing on multiple boys teams and she’s able to make those connections and is able to fit in with the boys rather easily,” Jay Falardeau said.
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