On April 13 Tayler Soveran-Welte of Richmound SK., travelled to Vero Beach, Florida to attend the MLB Trailblazer series camp.
The camp ran from April 13-17 and she was one of 95 girls from North America to attend, also included in the group were girls from places like Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Tayler was one of the 6 Canadian girls to attend, two of which were from the Edmonton Area and another Saskatchewan girl from Muenster.
The camp was held at the Jackie Robinson Complex in Vero Beach which was formerly known as Dodgertown before being purchased by Major League Baseball a few years back. The facility is amazing–it has numerous diamonds, dorms, batting cages, indoor facilities, meeting rooms, and dining areas. It is a massive facility that offers everything!
The idea behind the whole weekend was to give girls a chance to meet and play with and against other girls. It’s named the trailblazer series to honour Jackie Robinson, the true great Trailblazer in baseball.
Upon checking in on Wednesday, the girls were all outfitted with new gear including uniforms, shirts, pants, shorts, cleats, and a ball bag. They were assigned a dorm room with a roommate and a locker in the massive locker room. Tayler’s roommate was from Tampa Bay. Parents and guests were allowed only to watch the girls at the diamonds. The meeting areas, clubhouse and dorm areas were off-limits to everyone.
The girls were split into four teams under the 11/12 and 13-year-old age groups. Tayler was on team “Maroon” in the 13-year-old category. Although this wasn’t a showcase event, the talent level of the girls attending was amazing. Some of the best girls in those age groups were in attendance at the camp.
The camp itself was run by the coaches and some of the players from the USA National Women’s baseball team–they did a wonderful job with the girls! The camp consisted of some skill development and three games against the other teams in their age group. It was great for the girls, all the players, coaches and umps were all female.
Over the weekend, the common theme was how wonderful it was for all the girls to play baseball against other girls. On April 15, also known as Jackie Robinson Day, the girls were given the chance to mentor and help out with a skills camp for younger kids, giving them a chance to play and learn some skills.
Later that day they bussed down to Miami to take in the Marlins vs. Phillies game. That game was also part of the MLB’s Jackie Robinson’s celebrations. At the game, the girls got to watch batting practice. Before the game, the girls had the opportunity to go onto the field and meet with Kim Ng, the Miami Marlins General Manager. Kim is the highest-ranking female executive in MLB and the first woman to serve as a GM of a team in the big four leagues of North America. The girls also heard from Mo’Ne Davis, Jeneane Lesko and Maybelle Blair during the weekend. Lesko and Blair were two of the original All American Girls baseball players who inspired the movie “A League of their own”.
One of Tayler’s highlights was meeting Davis who was the first African American girl to play in the Little League World Series and the first girl to pitch a shutout in the LLWS. She also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Some of Tayler’s other highlights included “learning some history about woman’s baseball and finding girls that share the same interests as me.” She also “loved meeting lots of new people each day and growing bonds between some nice kids I met there, and learning new things.” When asked about her future she said, “I haven’t really thought that far into the future, I am just focused on making this year’s ball season the best”. That means back to play with and against the boys in Medicine Hat’s Little League System which has been a great place for her to play. This year it’s on the Pirates team in the intermediate division.
And finally, what words of advice did Tayler want to close with? “Have your mind set on a goal and once you set your goals, don’t let anyone change them!”
Well said Tayler, and congratulations!