SIX NATIONS – Twenty-three-year-old Carey-Leigh Thomas has added a World Bronze medal to her trophy case after Team Canada earned a Bronze Medal at the World Softball Championships played in Surrey, B.C. between July 14 and 21.
Thomas arrived back home to Six Nations late Monday a bit tired, but pretty stoked at the same time.
“The last time Team Canada stepped onto the podium was six years ago in 2010,” she smiles. “That’s a pretty big deal.”
Team Canada has placed fourth in recent years behind USA, Japan and Australia, but this year, the Aussies did not have as strong a team as in years past while Team Canada was more than ready to take over their usual third place finish behind USA and Japan.
Canada finished 4th in 2012 in Whitehorse, Yukon. Thomas took 2013 off to give birth to her first child and returned to the program in 2014, in Amsterdam for another fourth place finish. It is Canada’s second bronze, which they also won in 2010. Thomas also played in the Pan/Am Games for Team Canada.
At 23, she still has a lot of competitive ball to play before hanging up the cleats and is already anxious about 2018 when the tournament will be hosted in Tokyo, Japan.
She has years of international competition under her belt already having played for the Brantford Bobcats where she won Canadian Championship Gold medals in 2006, 2008 and 2011.
Thomas, the only full Native on the team, quickly earned a big following of fans from Surrey area reserves who came out to watch “that Native girl on third base”.
Teammate Megan Gurskyi, from Saskatchewan, has half Native blood and Thomas and her found an instant friendship.
Along the way, Team Canada defeated Great Britain 3-0, Ireland 9-2, Uganda 15-0, Venezuela 6-1, Puerto Rico 10-0, Italy 3-1, China 5-4, Mexico 5-0, Netherlands 9-2, before losing 11-1 to Japan n the medal round.
Team USA won the Gold, and Japan earned Silver.