Leslie Stratton – a four-year standout for the Saints softball team – took her talents to Sweden following graduation and will be spending the summer as a member of the Swedish National team while also playing a select number of games with the Skodve Saints of the Swedish Domestic Softball League. The Saints play teams throughout Sweden and have claimed seven of the last eight Swedish Championships.
Although she was raised in Bedford, N.H., Stratton has citizenship in Sweden as well, which allows for this unique opportunity.
"My mom immigrated to the US when she was 18 as an exchange student, but all my family still lives in Sweden," Stratton explained. "I've visited 20 times now which is amazing since I feel such a sense of belonging to the culture and way of life. It's an honor and so meaningful to me to be able to represent the country, my mom and family."
Stratton and the national team just finished competing at the Baltic Sea Open from June 6-8 and will take part in Prague Softball Week June 25-28, playing teams from Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, the United States and others. Some games will be available to watch online here. With this being an in-between season for the European Championships which happen every two years, Stratton is hopeful Sweden will be a contender next season.
"Playing over here is at least a two-year commitment," she said. "The top five teams from the European Championships qualify for the World Championships which happen every two years as well. Last year, Sweden was seventh in a close race, so next year we'll play in the European Championships and go for a bid for Worlds. It's been really exicting!"
In addition to playing with Swedish National Team and Skodve, Stratton is active in the community, particularly with youth softball leagues helping out with clinics and umpiring little league games.
Stratton finished her career at St. Lawrence in the spring with a .299 batting average. She drove in 17 runs, scored 14 and posted a .984 fielding percentage. She plans to return to Canton in 2015 as a volunteer assistant coach.