Colliers teen a real hit
Experienced softball player took small-ball game more seriously this summer
Kyleigh Gear spent her summer playing a lot of baseball. She’s relatively new to the sport, but the Colliers native is already getting plenty of attention for her skills on the field and at the plate.
Kyleigh Gear’s recent success in baseball may come as a surprise considering she didn’t play the sport much prior to this summer.
But the Colliers native is an experienced softball player, so the transition has been pretty smooth for the soon-to-be 15-year-old.
“Softball is more of a bigger sport around my area,” said Gear, who plays the sport locally in the Conception Bay Central Minor Softball program.
She competed with her Roncalli Central High teammates in a provincial baseball tournament earlier this year, which the school won (she received a top batter award).
Her performance there caught the attention of Mark Healey, coach for the provincial girls’ 16-and-under team.
This past summer, Gear was a member of that provincial 16-and-under team. They travelled to Nova Scotia last month for an invitational championship tournament. The team won three of its five games and finished sixth overall.
She mostly played centre field for the 16-and-under squad.
“I try to stay focused on the field and play my hardest at all times,” she said when asked to describe her game, noting too her willingness to look out for teammates.
“I try to pick up other players if they’re having a hard time or a bad game.”
Switching over to baseball was not a major challenge for Gear, but joining a team full of players from across the island (and none from her home area) was daunting at first. But she grew more comfortable with time.
“Once I became comfortable with everyone, it was fun and very enjoyable,” Gear said.
In addition to playing in the Nova Scotia tournament, the provincial girls team competed in a St. John’s boys’ house league.
“It’s a lot different playing with boys,” Gear replied when asked about the experience, stating they’re a bit more competitive on the field. “Sometimes they don’t try to have as much fun as girls are, which is good for us. It’s good practise.”
Gear also played for the St. John’s Capitals in the local minor baseball association. She was named top batter last month at the girls’ under-16 provincials playing for the latter team, which won the tournament.
Her weekends this summer were booked solid with baseball games and practices, including a tournament with the team at Grand Falls-Windsor.
Gear is quick to credit her provincial team coach Healey for teaching her a lot about the sport these past few weeks and helping her adjust her approach to hitting.
“Same thing with all the other coaches. They’re very talented with what they do and good with the players.”
The Grade 10 student will focus her attention on volleyball and basketball for the next few months (Roncalli is also defending provincial champions in softball). Looking towards next season, Gear hopes to continue playing baseball and softball, noting coaches are eager to accommodate athletes playing both sports.
“I’m going to try and do that too next summer, play both sports.”
I try to stay focused on the field and play my hardest at all times.
Colliers baseball player Kyleigh Gear only really picked up the sport seriously this past summer with the encouragement of a provincial team coach.