Campbell River’s Tory Stewart is competing for Team BC at the16U girls national baseball championships in Nova Scotia this week.
It’s been a long row for the second baseman who has had to either play with and against boys or travel great distances to play on girls teams in order to achieve success in her sport of choice.
Girls baseball plays in the shadow of softball which has more players, leagues and even opportunities. In the U.S., there are softball programs at the college level but even there, there are few girls baseball programs.
Stewart has had to play with the BC Selects girls team which is based out of the Vancouver area and that has involved a lot of travel. She developed her skills playing on boys teams at the youth level to the point where she was selected for Team BC at at a tryout camp this summer.
It hasn’t been a problem for Stewart playing on boys teams, though. In fact, she credits Campbell River minor baseball with being very welcoming of her.
“Campbell River baseball association has been awesome,” Stewart said.
She even tried out for the AAA Cubs boys baseball team and nearly made the squad.
Developing the girls game on the Island invovled bringing girls from all over to camps.
One particular girls camp two years ago gave Stewart the notion that she could go further with this sport. It was kind of a “breaking the barrier” sort of moment where she met other girls who had been doing the same thing as she had been in order to play the game she loves.
“There was other girls, too in the same situation playing in boys’ leagues that wanted to play baseball,” Stewart said. “Its a different sport. It’s not better than softball in any way, it’s just what you grew up playing. You don’t want to let go.”
Her persistence has paid off with a trip to Nova Scotia for the national championships. B.C. played Nova Scotia 1 in their first game Thursday and are up against Saskatchewan in game two on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday it’s the qualifying round with the finals on Sunday.
Games are live streamed on Baseball Canada’s website (http://player.communitylive.ca/Player/Player/137)
Stewart is appreciative of the support she’s received from the community. In order to get to the nationals, she’s had to do her own fundraising and has signed up local sponsors.