Some of them couldn’t throw a ball or come close to making contact at the plate when they started a few years ago, but it appears young women on the west coast are starting to find their groove on the baseball diamond.
A handful of players picked up individual awards at the provincial 12U female A and AA baseball championships held at Little Jubilee Field in Corner Brook over the weekend.
The Corner Brook Barons defeated the Pasadena Pirates 10-9 in the 12U A division championship game with Grace O’Brien picking up the Most Valuable Player Award for the host team who were undefeated in double round-robin play in a three-team tournament.
Brooklyn Stride won the top batter award for the Barons with a perfect .1000 average after smacking the ball around the diamond with authority and reaching base safely in all her at-bats, while clubmate Kaylee Pitcher won the top pitcher award and MacKenzie Dobbin got the nod as the Most Spirited Player as the Barons won four out of the five individual awards up for grabs at the 12U A tournament.
Maddi O’Shea of the Pasadena Pirates was a steady performer at shortstop and second base throughout the tournament and was rewarded for her efforts when she was presented with the top defensive player award.
Corner Brook settled for silver in the 12U AA tournament after a 16-12 loss to the St. John’s Capitals in the gold-medal showdown, but heavy hitter Lauren Pike won the top hitter award and teammate Devaro Chislett, a Stephenville native, was selected the tournament’s top defensive player.
O’Brien, daughter of Dave and Alison O’Brien of Corner Brook, was pretty impressive with some timely hitting and sound defensive plays on the infield, winning the MVP award in her rookie season at the age of 11.
O’Brien was pretty shy about playing the game when she got started this season because a lot of her friends had been playing for a couple of years and were pretty comfortable with the bat and in the field, but she was having fun so she figured she would work hard to see if she could catch up to her friends.
Being on the baseball diamond has been a blast for her and now she’s a provincial champion so she’s in pretty good spirits.
“I was really shocked. I was really surprised. I was really happy,” O’Brien said of winning the MVP award in her first year of female baseball.
Stride was a hitting machine for the Barons, smacking line drives all over Little Jubilee, surprising everybody, even herself, by reaching base every time she stepped into the batter’s box.