Lo­cals abound on pro­vin­cial fe­male ros­ter

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

Scrolling down the se­lec­tion list for the New­found­land and Labrador un­der-16 fe­male base­ball team, it doesn’t take long to come across a fa­mil­iar name.

Mov­ing past names like Kait­lyn Harris, Dayle Prowse and Sa­man­tha Gosse, you’ll no­tice a player from Base­ball CBN.

Then another and then another un­til you find there are five play­ers from the lo­cal as­so­ci­a­tion.

It starts at Stephanie Crane (Up­per Is­land Cove) and con­tin­ues with Noelle Drover (Up­per Is­land Cove), Vic­to­ria Rear­don (Up­per Is­land Cove), Jenna Lee Ralph (Spa­niard’s Bay) and Sa­man­tha Pike (Har­bour Grace).

That is about a third of the ros­ter of 16.

Crane, Rear­don and Drover have been here be­fore. They donned New­found­land red last sum­mer when the trio trav­elled to Que­bec for the na­tional girls base­ball in­vi­ta­tion tour­na­ment. This year’s tour­ney is slated for Saque­nay, Que., Aug. 13-17.

Mean­while, Ralph and Pike are the new kids on the block.

This will be their first time rep­re­sent­ing their province on Team NL. Ralph was se­lected last year but was forced to back out as she had a busy sum­mer sched­ule and it con­flicted with another sport.

“It was a big sur­prise when I found out I was se­lected,” said Pike. “It’s cool that I’m the only one from Har­bour Grace.”

“It was awe­some,” added Ralph. “They sent an email to my mom, and she called me. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends. I had been ner­vous for a cou­ple of weeks.”

Some 60 play­ers hit the field for the try­out, rep­re­sent­ing some stiff com­pe­ti­tion for all five of the play­ers as they at­tempted to make the team.

“I was ner­vous at first, but I start­ing get­ting used to it as the camp went on,” said Pike. Fe­male base­ball strong Base­ball is at an all-time high in this province amongst fe­male ath­letes. There are strong pro­grams in all the ma­jor base­ball cen­tres, in­clud­ing Conception Bay North.

The west coast is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a large surge in play­ers, while the east coast con­tin­ues to boast some of the finest fe­male ballplay­ers on the is­land.

But, hav­ing one-third of a pro­vin­cial team ros­ter stacked with lo­cal tal­ent might tip the scales when it comes to fe­male base­ball’s home. If you look at it the right way, one could con­ceiv­ably call Base­ball CBN a fe­male strong­hold.

It is com­mon­place to see young fe­male ath­letes learn­ing the game at each level on fields in Spa­niard’s Bay, Har­bour Grace and Up­per Is­land Cove. There is tal­ent here, and this proves it.

“It shows we have some pretty good play­ers right here,” said Ralph. In­clud­ing the five play­ers from this year’s team, a to­tal of 10 fe­male play­ers from Base­ball CBN have rep­re­sented the province at na­tional com­pe­ti­tions within the last four years.

The two new­com­ers from this re­gion are no strangers to the base­ball diamond. They’ve been learn­ing the game since they

All-around play­ers were young and are well versed in the game’s in­tri­ca­cies.

Each player pa­trols the out­field for their home team and can tran­si­tion be­tween hit­ting and field­ing seam­lessly.

Nei­ther Ralph nor Pike have been to Que­bec in their short life­time. The team has tours lined up for the play­ers, which should only add to the ex­pe­ri­ence. “It’ll be an awe­some trip,” said Ralph. “I can’t wait to meet all of the play­ers from the dif­fer­ent prov­inces.”

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Sa­man­tha Pike (left) and Jenna Lee Ralph are two of five fe­male play­ers from Base­ball CBN se­lected for the pro­vin­cial un­der-16 fe­male team.

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