Sharing the diamond with female baseball players from all over the United States was an experience a number of west coast girls will remember for a long time.
Hannah Legge of Cow Head, Sommer Mosher of Corner Brook, Lauren Chaulk of Corner Brook and Taylor Burton of Corner Brook were among the seven Newfoundlanders who helped the Chicago Pioneers win gold in the U13 division at the 2018 Baseball Four U.S.A. U13 Nationals held in Rockford, Illinois over the weekend.
The Pioneers, who finished with an overall 5-1 record, won gold by defeating the Boston Slammers by a 7-5 spread in the gold-medal showdown in the U13 age group.
Legge, who said the highlight of her Chicago experience was being able to play catcher for a game, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored for the Pioneers in the championship game.
“Oh my God, it was so unreal,” Legge said from Chicago Monday as she began preparing for the journey home. “There was so much to do, the baseball was amazing and I met lots of new friends.”
Legge said she learned a lot of new drills and some tips on how to be a better player in all aspects of the game after working with the coaches with several practice sessions before the national showcase tournament for female baseball in the United States swung into high gear.
“It was awesome. I think I played 10 times better when I was down here,” Legge said. “It told me I have lots of stuff to learn and it opened my eyes to so much more because I didn’t realize there was so much more to baseball.”
Mosher had a key part in the team’s success, pitching two innings of relief and going 2-for-3 at the dish in a 20-0 win over the Boston Slammers, but the exciting moment for her came in the 3-2 extra-inning semifinal victory over the Los Angeles Monarchs.
With the Pioneers trailing 2-1, Mosher scored the tying run in her team’s last at-bat in the sixth inning (all games were six innings) with two outs to send the game to an extra inning. She showed patience at the plate to earn a walk before she stole second and third base to inch closer to home, and then Nicole Kaleta of Illinois spanked a single to deliver the equalizer before the Pioneers eked out the win in the home half of the seventh when Holly Russell scored on a wild pitch after earning a walk and swiping two bases.
“It was an awesome experience because I got to play against and play with some of the best baseball players in all of the United States and I got to hold my own with all of them,” Mosher said.
Shilo Chislett of Stephenville, meanwhile, drove in four runs to lead DC Force to a 10-6 victory over the Bay Sox in the gold-medal showdown in the 14U age bracket, while her younger sibling Devaro suited up with the Boston Slammers in the U11 age group and failed to reach the playoff round.