Shilo and Devaro Chislett are no strangers to elite baseball since arriving in Kippens from their hometown of Ranken Inlet, Nunavut, seven years ago.
Shilo, the older of the two, recently had an incredible experience as one of only 27 Canadian girls to participate in a Baseball Canada National Women’s Team Development Camp held Feb. 17-24 in Havana, Cuba.
Not to be outdone, Devaro was chosen as one of 96 girls to take part in the Major League Baseball-sponsored Trailblazer Series from April 11-14 in Compton, Calif., where participants will have the opportunity to learn from current and former women's national team players and coaching staff, baseball industry executives and other dignitaries from in and around the sport. She was one of just five Canadians and the only Newfoundlander selected.
The Western Star recently asked both girls via email about their past experiences on the diamond, their future plans with the sport, and everything else baseball.
Years playing baseball: 7
How did you get into it/what do you love about it? “After moving to Newfoundland I wanted to try some new sports and baseball became my favourite. I love the strategy of the game and the friendships that I have made along the way.”
What positions do you play most often? “I usually play second base and shortstop.”
What are the most challenging things about those positions? “Those positions are challenging because there is a lot of action in the infield and I have to be ready for anything.”
Were you nervous about going to Cuba? “I was very nervous before I went to Cuba because I was worried about how much better the other girls would be because in other parts of Canada they have a longer baseball season and more training. I was worried for nothing because I ended up doing fine.”
Who went with you? “My mom travelled with me because it was too far to go alone.”
Did you know any of the other players? “There was another player from Newfoundland that I knew before the trip, but I got to know everyone else there as well by the end of the week.”
Did you play against Cuban teams? “During the week we played against a female Cuban team and a few of the girls were on the Cuban national team.”
How nice was it to escape the Newfoundland cold? How hot was it down there? “While the weather was nice and hot it was sometimes difficult to play baseball in 30-degree heat when we are definitely not used to playing in those temperatures in Newfoundland.”
What was one important thing you feel you learned down there? “I enjoyed the camp immensely and I improved on my swing and grounding.”
What’s the new big thing in store for you on the baseball diamond? “I will have another busy summer of baseball, but I am most looking forward to playing with my U.S.A. team DC Force at a tournament in Toronto and the Baseball For All Nationals in Rockford, Ill.
Years playing baseball: 7
How did you get into it, and what do you love about it? “I moved here from my hometown of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, and thought it would be a fun sport to try. The best thing about baseball for me is the people I have met and the friends I have made.”
What position do you play most often? “I usually play shortstop.”
What is the most challenging thing about that position? “It is challenging catching fast and hard grounders.”
You were the only Newfoundlander selected to the Trailblazer Series. How does that make you feel? “I feel proud that I was chosen to attend the Trailblazer Series and being the only player selected from Newfoundland amazes me because there are so many good players here!”
Are you nervous about it at all? “I am nervous, but also super excited to learn from some of the best female baseball players in the world.”
Will you know any of the other players attending? “Last summer I played with the U12 Corner Brook Barons, the U11 Boston Slammers and also, for the Atlantics, I played with the U14 Nova Scotia team. I am excited that I will know four other girls at the Trailblazer Series — three from Boston and one from Nova Scotia.”
What is something you’re hoping to accomplish down there? “I am hoping to improve wherever I can and hoping I make lots of new friends.”
Who is going with you? “My mom will be coming with me and we will stay an extra day so we can go to the beach.”
What’s the next big thing you’ll be doing in baseball after that? “After the Trailblazer Series I have a busy summer of baseball planned. Tournaments in Newfoundland, Toronto and I can't wait to go back down to Rockford, Ill., to play in the Baseball For All Nationals.