By ED O’LEARY, Brantford Expositor
Kaylee Misiuda enjoys scooting around centrefield, playing second base and pitching.
McLaren, 16, and Misiuda, 13, recently took to the ball diamond to compete in the Canadian bantam championships in Toronto.
Oh, by the way, they weren’t playing fastpitch as most girls their ages do.
They had earned positions on Ontario baseball teams that had boys filling all of the other roster spots.
McLaren made the Ontario Tier 1 squad and Misiuda was selected to play for the Ontario Tier 2 team.
Ontario Tier 1 went 5-1 in the tournament and won the championship.
McLaren, who will be entering Grade 11 at St. John’s College in September, pitched two games for her team, going 1-1.
McLaren is accustomed to playing on a team where all of her teammates are boys.
“It’s different, but all of the guys treat me like I’m one of them,” said McLaren, noting that the opposition has a different point of view.
“They usually laugh at me as I come out to play. I usually just ignore them.”
McLaren added that all of teammates back her and she gets along well with them.
“They’re a bunch of teenage boy, so they’re pretty comical,” she said.
McLaren, who cheers for Toronto Blue Jays’ second baseman Aaron Hill, plays in the Intercounty Midget Tier 1 division for her Jr. Red Sox team.
She’s never played fastpitch.
“I played slo-pitch for the Branlyn Neighbourhood League but then I switched over (to baseball) when I was eight (years old),” said McLaren, who would like to stay with “hardball” rather switch to fastpitch.
‘Hardball for girls, you can’t get a scholarship or anything. I’m just kind of going with the flow. I have no idea where it will take me. I kind of want to play hardball for Team Canada.”
Sean O’Brien, a coach for Team Canada, was an assistant coach for McLaren’s Ontario Tier 1 squad at the nationals.
Maybe, she caught his eye. Misiuda, who will be entering Grade 8 at St. Pius School, has been playing baseball since she was three years old. She attended tryouts near Toronto recently and stuck with the squad, despite her age.
The Ontario Tier 2 team won one game and lost four but Misiuda was named her team’s most valuable player in one of the games.
Misiuda could play major peewee in the Intercounty but has decided to play up a level and join the College Sports Red Sox.
“I get along with all the boys really good,” said Misiuda. “And I like all the positions I play.”
Misiuda realizes that she may have to switch from baseball to fastpitch to help further her education.
“I might have to switch over to get a scholarship or something,” she noted.
Misiuda enjoyed her time at the national championships.
“It was cool playing against all the different teams and stuff,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”