A Phoenix Charlestown women’s baseballer will soon play on the USA fields used by the famous Rockford Peaches, who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League between 1943 and 1954.
Shai-lee Reeves, a talented and dedicated 15-year-old who plays for the Phoenix in Newcastle and the Kellyville Fillies in Sydney, will leave in a fortnight for a one-off opportunity in the USA.
She will join the Boston Slammers and compete in the National Baseball Tournament for Girls at Rockford, Illinois on August 2-5.
The tournament is run by Baseball For All, a leader of girls baseball in the USA, and is held at the former home ground of the Rockford Peaches, Beyer Stadium.
The Peaches, their ground in Rockford and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League all featured in the 1992 film A League of Their Own.
“I’m really excited for the baseball over there,” Reeves said. “It’s going to be really good for my game with all the training I’ll be getting.”
Baseball For All fosters, encourages and provides opportunities for girls to participate in the sport at youth level. Reeves will play in the under-18 division, which is the next after under-14s.
“I’m expecting it to be a lot tougher than the competition here in Australia, but it’s something I’m really looking forward to,” Reeves said.
“I’m nervous to go into a new team with people I haven’t met, but I’m more excited than anything.”
Last year, Reeves took a tour to Japan with a NSW Junior Baseball League side, which may have sparked the motivation to play abroad.
“It was really good to go see another culture and play against the Japanese teams,” she said.
“They’re really focused over there in what they need to do. They really love their baseball over there.”
Reeves, a Belmont High School student, said she took up baseball about five years ago after being enticed into the sport by friends.
She considers herself a pitcher, but can play as a catcher or in the in-field, and bat as well.
“I’ve played every position on the field,” she said. “I took it up through school. I like the competitive side of it and you make a lot of friends and get to go to a lot of places.”
Playing for both Phoenix Charlestown and Kellyville Fillies might seem like a big commitment but incredibly, Reeves finds time to play for two Central Coast sides – the Dodgers and Marlins. She splits the four sides over summer and winter competitions.
Reeves has previously represented NSW Country under-16s at the National Championships and made the Newcastle open women’s side for the first time in 2017.
The Reeves family wanted to thank Baseball For All contact, Justine Siegal; Steve Taylor, a Kellyville Fillies coach; and the clubs that Shai-lee plays for.