The Manitoba Girls Baseball Committee is trying to bring some attention the fact that girls in Manitoba do play baseball. This custom page contains an article with featured players insights posted below. More players will be featured as the seeason gets underway. Enjoy!

Why Do Girls Play Baseball?

           Jackie Robinson's achievements as the initial African American major league baseball players are well documented.  However, very few people know about Ila Borders, the first female pitcher in integrated men's professional baseball and the first woman to win a men's professional game in the independent leagues.

            Given the physical differences, can women compete with men in sports?  Men are typically stronger and may be more physically fit than women, but in baseball that may not matter. Baseball requires timing, coordination, and knowledge of the game, control, competitiveness, and desire, assets that are not exclusively male. 

            In baseball, girls do have a better chance at succeeding against boys than they would if they were playing basketball or soccer, since baseball is a lot less physical than these other games. Sure, a girl is much less likely than a boy to smack a 450-foot home run or throw 90 miles-per-hour. Then again, if a girl has excellent location and movement on her pitches, or can make solid contact, or has a good glove, she can still be effective on the baseball field.

            In baseball, the smart ball player with more hustle often outplays the big slugger. 

            So, perhaps the more pertinent question is, will Canadians accept women’s participation in a sport considered to be men’s domain?

            When a woman wants to play baseball, she is asked why. Why not?  Baseball and softball are different games.

            Softball games are impressive - the speed of the game, and the quality of the play. Hardball, however, has other challenges with the distances on the field, and the strength that is required to play the sport.

            Some Manitoba girls are devoted to baseball. Girls who choose baseball in are taking a rocky path less traveled. There is no perfect place in the minor leagues for baseball players who are girls. There are few  "all"  girls’ baseball teams, other than the two girls (14U and 16U, with the possibility an additional 21U) teams rostered by Manitoba Baseball to participate in the Canadian Invitations Championships (Nationals) and Westerns.

            Some girls will not be swayed. Thankfully, many Manitoba  teams support these girls who are registering on their teams. The boys welcome their female players and the talents they bring with them.

            While playing on their local and regional teams these young ladies need several skills to be successful – skill set, determination, and adaptability. They have to contribute to their team, and have a thick skin.  

            They also need one other important skill: the ability to fit in with the guys.They need to know how to banter with them, how to be respectful with the banter and how to gain their trust. Their teammates need to see that these girls can keep their wits about them. They need to know they are out there for the right reasons - not to be a prima donna, not to change the game, but to win.

Players Profiles:

Jade Ledochowski

           One Manitoba player, Jade Ledochowski who hails from Teulon MB is presently attending Lake Region State College on a softball scholarship.  Jade is a pitcher and catcher. Jade was awarded the top catcher of the Canadian National 16U Girls Invitational Tournament in Saguenay Quebec in 2014.

            When queried why she played Jade answered “I have grown up playing baseball, and as I got older attempted to make a transition over to softball. This was more difficult than I would have assumed. The two games, though similar, are quite different. As much as I played softball, I always enjoyed baseball more. I have a drive to do well and prove to myself that I could compete against boys, even when it wasn't thought that I could.”

            Jade agrees that the two sports are similar but each with their own challenges.

            “There are so many sports that are similar in concept and speed, but baseball is entirely its own. It is crazy how for a team sport, it is also such an individual sport as well.

            I love the mental aspect that this game has. At times this game is slow, and you are waiting for your opportunity to get some game action and to be ready at all times, even if you're not always in a play.

            I love the feeling I get every single time I step on the diamond, I have the will to compete and succeed. With this game, I find a passion inside myself that doesn't exist in any other aspect of my life,” underscored Ledochowski.

            Jade’s specific goals for the upcoming year are to improve on her pitching and catching. She would also like to see Team Toba medal at the 21U Tournament being held in Nova Scotia this upcoming August. 

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Jasmine Horwood

            Jasmine Horwood of Brandon, Manitoba is a member of the U14 Manitoba Girls Provincial Baseball team.  She, who is also a member of the Brandon Pee Wees,  is a utility players who covers  pitcher, catcher, third base and outfield positions. 

            Many of the girls play on baseball teams for various reasons.

            “I play on a baseball team because it keeps me active and provides a challenge.

What differences are there to the game which you like? The main difference between softball and baseball is the distance on the field. Softball uses an underhand pitch while baseball is overhand.

            I love the teamwork that goes into making a double play. I love the feeling of power after making a great hit. I also love the feeling of striking out a player when I am pitching,” stressed Jasmine.

            Jasmine’s main goals this year include succeeding and learning new skills in playing with the Brandon Pee Wee Team and the U14 Manitoba Girls Baseball Team, hitting the fence consistently, and maintaining focus and visualization of her baseball dreams.

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Brittany Langlais

             One 16U veteran player who hails from Garson, Manitoba is Brittney Langlais.  Brittany has grown up playing baseball with the boys. This past year she played with North Winnipeg Pirates AAA (boy’s baseball team and the Team Manitoba Girls (16U) as a pitcher and outfielder. Brittany is presently attending the ICASE baseball academy in Stratford, Ontario.

            Why does she play on a baseball?

            “I play on a baseball team because baseball is the sport I love; it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if it’s with guys or with girls, as long as I’m playing at the highest level I can and continue to have success I will keep playing. People may think it’s “weird” that there is a girl playing on a guy’s team but if a female can compete with the males then she should, and most people who say that have probably never seen a female compete with the males. When we can play with the boys it is a spectacular thing because it shows that if you work hard enough and become dedicated you can do great things! So I play baseball because it’s what makes me happy and it’s something that I’ve wanted to succeed in since I was a little girl playing mosquito baseball,

            I have never played softball so I would not know the difference between it and baseball. I have never really had the desire to play softball. It’s not the game that I don’t like, I’ve just never minded having to compete with the boys and have had great success with baseball. I think people would think that the biggest difference is boys play baseball and girls play softball. When you play on a guy’s team and earn your spot and their respect they treat you like they would treat any other guy,” stressed Langlais.

            Brittany “loves” the game of baseball!

            “There are a lot of things I love about baseball. The memories are probably going to be the thing I’ll love the most though as I can always look back and think about how much fun I’ve had throughout the years and all the friends I’ve made and places it has brought me.

            Being able to play against boys is pretty amazing too. I must say striking out a guy or getting a guy to ground out or fly out is pretty satisfying especially when they think it will be easy since you’re a girl.  

            Another thing I love about baseball is pitching, pitching has always been my strong spot and it’s something I have never minded working at. I hope to make it somewhere as a pitcher one day, either on the Women’s Team Canada or even making it to a college or university team would be amazing!.

            The thing I like about pitching is that I enjoy having the pressure on my shoulders to throw strikes and hit my spots. I believe it makes me work harder in hopes that I won’t let down the catcher in front of me and the other seven guys or girls behind me.

            Baseball is also unlike other sports and demands a lot of mental focus. So you have to come to the diamond physically and even more mentally ready. If you make a physical error it isn’t as bad as making a mental one.  So I think that makes baseball a little more interesting,” clarified Brittany.

            Loaded with talent, Brittany has had the opportunity to travel to many places.  She has played with the Girls Baseball 16U Manitoba team in both Nova Scotia, and Quebec.  She has competed with the AAA North Winnipeg Pirates team at Westerns in Alberta as well as the Team Canada Development Camp in Cuba and the Homerun Sports Training Academy in St. Louis.

            “Probably the best experience I’ve had yet with baseball has been that it has taken me all the way to Stratford, Ontario to play for ICASE (International Canadian Academy of Sports Excellence). There I spent five months playing for the guy’s baseball team and going to school.           We traveled to the states almost every weekend in the fall and played against colleges and in tournaments. Doing this program let me meet my amazing homestay family and so many new friends and I have made more amazing memories.

            This is why I love baseball. So much can happen from playing and succeeding in the sport you love. I don’t know where I would be without baseball, underscored Langlais.

            Brittany is not resting on the laurels of her past performance.  She has specific goals for this upcoming season.

            “My most important goal in this upcoming year is to heal my shoulder that has been an off and on problem in baseball for me in the last year. I also have goals to gain speed on my fastball and get a third pitch such as a curve ball.

            I would like to capture another medal at the Girls 16u Nationals as it is the last year I am able to play at this level. I would also like to get closer to reaching my overall goal in baseball of making Team Canada but I know that that goal is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication,” concluded Brittany.

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  Jaclyn Hlady

           Jaclyn Hlady who calls Dauphin, Manitoba home is a member of the Dauphin Lady Rays girl’s baseball team as well as on the U14 Team Manitoba Girls Baseball team. Jaclyn, a left-handed catcher, who can play just about any spot in the field, likes to play baseball because, “It is fun, and I can make connections with people from all over.”

            Jaclyn's goal for the upcoming year is to improve her skills as an overall ball player.

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    Mandy-Jo Stratuliak

            Mandy-Jo Stratuliak also calls Dauphin home.  She has played for Dauphin’s Boys team, Team Manitoba 16U in 2014, and the High School Clippers Softball team. Her key positions are first base, second base, and shortstop. 

            Mandy-Jo’s reasons for playing boys baseball are diverse.

             “I play baseball for the challenge as well as the actual game itself. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to play baseball.

            I adore meeting new people when I play against or with them.

            Baseball is a challenge because it requires quick decision making, good hand-eye coordination, and thinking skills. I also believe it is a challenge by competing against boys and showing them what girls can do in baseball, even better than they can.

            The differences to the game, that I like, are that the plays and actions aren’t always the same throughout the game. The game changes every minute, and that’s what is invariably in the back of your head when you are playing baseball.

            Baseball is a fast-paced  sport and highly competitive. Being a competitive person myself, I enjoy baseball because of that reason. Playing both softball and baseball, there are some differences between the two. Baseball is faster paced, smaller ball; bases are longer, and the bats are wooden. Baseball requires distinctive techniques and capabilities that make it unlike from any other sport,” noted Mandy-Jo.

            What does she “love” about the game?

            “The list can go on about what I love about baseball. I love the competition, meeting new people, challenging myself and creating new goals, trying new positions; the game is always changing each time you step on the field, hearing your team and fans cheer for you every time you come up to bat, getting positive remarks from your coaches and teammates, lastly becoming lifelong friends with your teammates.

            I love being able to show other people what female baseball players can do and how baseball is just not for men.

            I love the atmosphere/environment when you go to a baseball diamond.

            All the practice and hard work really do pay off in baseball. I have an immense passion for this sport, and I honestly love everything about it.

            Mandy has some specific goals for the upcoming year.

            “I would like to finish my first year of university with really high marks. I would like to work during the summer and play on the Team Manitoba Girls 21U team and be reunited with my old teammates. Going to Nationals once more and being able to have that experience again is my main goal if the 21U team goes through officially this spring/summer. I just want to play baseball one more time this year before I go back to university and face reality,” concluded Stratuliak.



Photos
14U Team Toba Exhibition Game in Altona
21U Womens Tournament - Action on the Diamond
16U Girls National Championships in Vaughan
16U Girls National Championships in Vaughan
21U Girls Team Toba
21U Womens Tournament - Action on the Diamond
21U Girls Team Toba
21U Womens Tournament - Action on the Diamond
21U Tournament - Around the Diamond
16U Girls National Championships in Vaughan
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