GUYSBOROUGH – Vanessa Dort of Cooks Cove has been a regular on the baseball diamond since she was a four-year-old. This summer the Grade 9 student at Chedabucto Education Centre logged her second year with the Baseball Nova Scotia 14U Girls team, which won gold at the Baseball Atlantic Championship in Newfoundland on September 9.
Last year Dort and teammates came in fourth at the championship held in Bedford, Nova Scotia. This season, the team knew each other better and Dort credits that cohesiveness in part with their win. “I really bonded with the girls more and that really brought us closer together...We learned each others strengths and weaknesses.”
In March Dort knew she would be on the 2018 team. This announcement came after a winter of baseball skills camps and tryouts held in Halifax. During that time she honed her pitching skills and worked to perfect her position as a centre fielder.
Pitching is a high-stress position but Dort said it depends on the hitters. “If they are bigger hitters it can be somewhat intimidating but usually it's not that bad. You just have to be smart with how you throw your pitches.”
The Baseball Nova Scotia 14U Girls were in St. John's, Newfoundland for five days and entered the championship with record of three wins and one loss; putting them in first place among all teams competing.
After a round robin tournament, the team was headed to the championship finals. “When we found out we were headed to the championship, our gloves went in the air and we were all jumping up and down...We were just bouncing with excitement.”
In the championship final, the Nova Scotia Girls faced the St. John's Capital team; the only team they had lost to during the season. “We knew what the batters were like and what the pitching was like. We worked around what they had and what we had.” And the result; a 10 to 5 win for Nova Scotia capturing the gold.
Despite the lopsided score, Dort said the game was intense with both teams in the lead at different points. “It was a pretty back and forth game until the end.”
When the team won Dort said, “Some of us were even in tears, we were so excited. It was the greatest moment.”
In the months ahead, Dort expects to take part in more camps and more tryouts for the Baseball Nova Scotia 16U team. “I am hoping to stay with the same girls as last time cause they are like my family,” she said.