Friday, April 9, 2021

Chartrand – a softball star on the rise

Jorde Chartrand perfects her throws at the Indoor Training Centre.
By Darren Steinke
Gordie Howe Sports Complex

Jorde Chartrand defines love for the game of softball, meanwhile believing the game has loved her back.

Being a right-handed pitching ace, she is a recognized alumna within the regional 222’s Fastpitch program and the Saskatoon Phantoms Softball Zone. Joining the University of Central Arkansas Bears NCAA Division I program this fall, she has cemented her place as a role model for younger women who wish to pursue their dreams in the sport.

Within the many organizations Chartrand has been a part of, she has defined the terms; Dedication, Leadership, and Modesty. Appreciation is an “Understatement” of the opportunity she has of continuing her career with the UCA Bears.

Dreams have become a reality for this young lady, and she is definitely excited to set more goals within the sport.

She wants to win some championships with the Bears and would ultimately like to make the Canadian Women’s National Team one day and play at the Olympics.

She would love to play the sport professionally and to coach at the college level one day.

Chartrand knows she has already been able to pile up accomplishments in the sport, because her love of the game is grounded in basic things.

“I love the pressure and the rewarding feeling you get when you overcome an obstacle or win a big game,” said Chartrand, who will turn 18-years-old on April 22. “The people, the teammates and the coaches that have all become family over the years, all the connections that you make through the sport is just indescribable and amazing.”

Jorde Chartrand throws with the Phantoms in 2019.
Anyone who has seen Chartrand train with the 222’s travel team at the Indoor Training Centre on the Gordie Howe Sports Complex grounds will see her dedication to the game. She has mastered throwing four pitches in the curveball, change-up, drop ball and her signature pitch - the rise ball.

Chartrand has been clocked at throwing 67 miles per hour and is also pretty strong at the plate as a batter too.

She was born and raised on an acreage outside of Weyburn, Sask., where she still resides.

Chartrand started out playing baseball first at age of three before shifting over to softball within a year’s time. She played minor softball in Weyburn until age 10, when she cracked the 222’s under-14 team.

From that point, Chartrand played for the 222’s in the fall and winter months and bounced around with various spring and summer clubs located around Saskatchewan looking to play at the highest level she could.

In 2019, Chartrand joined the Phantoms under-16 program and attended Saskatoon’s Tommy Douglas Collegiate, where she started working with Trevor Ethier.

“I was very thankful to have the opportunity to work with Trevor through the Tommy Douglas softball program,” said Chartrand. “He helped me so much not only with the skills of the game, but the mental aspect of it as well.”

She helped the Phantoms win a provincial title and qualify for the under-16 Canadian Championships, which were held that year in Calgary.

At nationals, Chartrand won the top pitcher award posting a 0.00 earned-run average and 37 strikeouts, while giving up only three hits in 19 innings of total work as the Phantoms finished eighth overall.

While pursuing her softball dreams, Chartrand is thankful for the sacrifices her father, Russ, and mother, Caroline, have made.

Both of my parents have been my biggest supporters,” said Chartrand, who stands 5-foot-9. “They are always encouraging me to keep getting better at the sport that I love.

“They are always there when you make a mistake and you need that comforting comment or that little push of encouragement. They always supported me, affording me the opportunity to travel to many places playing the sport that I love.”

Jorde Chartrand signs with the University of Central Arkansas Bears.
Chartrand credits all the coaches she had with the 222’s program for helping her maintain her love for the game. Between the 222’s under-14, under-16 and under-18 teams, Chartrand spent seven seasons with that program.

She credits 222’s coach and former Canadian national men’s team pitcher Dean Holoien for helping her develop into the pitcher she has become. His mentoring throughout her ball career has been invaluable.

Chartrand was nine-years-old when she first met Holoien and continued to work with him since then. Keith Mackintosh, coach and co-owner of the 222’s, also played a crucial role in the development of Chartrand’s softball career as well as former Olympian Dione (Meier) Blackwell, Ryan Ray and the rest of the coaching staff.

“I would not be the player or person I am without that program,” said Chartrand.I am going to miss it tremendously but knowing that I am not only close with the coaches, but friends with the coaches makes it a lot easier to move to the next chapter in my career.

“They aren’t just a building block in my softball career but my life.”

Chartrand has always enjoyed playing at the various softball diamonds on the Gordie Howe Sports Complex grounds and is thankful she got to use the pitching tunnels, batting cages and turf field at the Indoor Training Centre.

This past fall and winter, Chartrand appreciated and cherished every chance she got to use the Indoor Training Centre as the COVID-19 pandemic put the clamps on Canada’s sports scene including national team tryout camps for the gifted thrower.

“It has really helped me keep up my game,” said Chartrand. “It was always a place that I could go to work on my sport.

“It is really helpful with the 222’s program that we have the facility, because it allows all of us to train together the best we can while following the guidelines. It has been really helpful even with COVID just to keep playing the sport that I love that a lot of kids don’t get the opportunity to do.

Chartrand is now back in Weyburn electing to finish off her Grade 12 studies at Weyburn Comprehensive High School. In June, she is going to go to Florida to play for the Tampa Mustangs-TJ under-18 to prepare for her upcoming University season.

Jorde Chartrand can hammer the ball at the plate.
The young hurler is looking forward to her future journeys in the sport.

“It is motivating,” said Chartrand. “It makes me want to be the best player that I can be and keep in shape to play the sport for as long as I can.

“It makes me excited for all the opportunities and people that will come into my life later throughout the sport.”

The photos of Chartrand pitching for the Phantoms and signing with the Bears are courtesy of Jorde Chartrands personal collection.