Mother knows best for White Rock's Little League star

When Chase Marshall's mother offers baseball advice, he kind of has to listen. She knows a thing or two about the game.

Carrie Flemmer-Marshall played softball in Atlanta Olympics before son Chase came along

White Rock, B.C. pitcher Chase Marshall, centre, with grandfather, Art, and mother, Carrie. (Jamie Strashin/CBC)

When Chase Marshall's mother offers baseball advice, he kind of has to listen. She knows a thing or two about the game.

"When we go into the batting cages, she will be like, 'Hey, you are not doing that right.' So it's always nice to have another coach in the house," 13-year-old Chase says.

Carrie Flemmer-Marshall certainly has the credentials. She played softball for 23 years, including a decorated collegiate career south of the border. She also was the catcher on Canada's national softball team for six years, culminating with an appearance at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

"To wear the Canadian jersey and maple leaf on your chest, to walk around the opening ceremonies and then to play in the games it was incredible, a memory of a lifetime," Flemmer-Marshall says.

She has used those memories and experiences to shape the athletic fortunes of her own family.

She was reticent at first, actually keeping Chase away from the game when he was a younger.

Chase Marshall pitched a complete-game shutout against Alberta Friday to put his White Rock team into the semifinals of the Little League Baseball Canadian Championship. (Jamie Strashin/CBC)

"We actually kept him away for the first few years," she says. "We waited — and it killed me — for them to ask to be put in to the sport because I didn't want them, especially with my background, to be playing the sport because mommy played it ."

But since he decided to embrace his mother's passion, Chase has enjoyed success on the diamond that has continued this week in Medicine Hat, Alta., site of the Canadian Little League Championship.

Chase has been one of the tournament's stars. He has contributed a number of key hits, and pitched his team into Saturday's tournament final with an 11-strikeout, complete-game 6-0 shutout of Alberta on Friday.

Flemmer-Marshall is part of a large family contingent that has traveled from British Columbia to Medicine Hat to watch Chase and his White Rock teammates vie for the opportunity to compete in the Little League World Series next week in Williamsport, Pa., the reward for winning the Canadian title.

"My motto is it's a journey not a destination," she says. "Of course I am proud of my Olympic achievements but I don't talk about it as much as I do talk about the trials and tribulations of getting there. It's more about the hardships of getting to where you want."

"She's been my cheerleader for as long as I can remember," Chase says.  "It's always been great to have her by my side."

Athletic family

She is not the only one in this family who can offer athletic advice. Chase comes from a family of accomplished athletes.  His father was a competitive swimmer and  his uncle played in the Yankees' minor-league system. His grandfather, Art Flemmer, who never misses his grandson's games, also played semipro hockey before being drafted by the Boston Bruins.

He acknowledges his family does have an athletic pedigree, but says it goes beyond that.

"Its about dedication and finding something you love," Art says. "There's no magic."

"There is an athletic pedigree for sure. But at the same time [Chase] is naturally competitive," Flemmer-Marshall adds. "It's not something he has to find, it's a norm for him. It's something in my husband and I, our upbringing, its something that's just there and I think he feeds off it."

Look for bright spots

The 77-year-old Flemmer says nothing can replace the lessons and memories his family's involvement in competitive sports has offered. It's something he doesn't let his grandson forget.

"I always say to him if things don't go well, that's like real life — some days are off days but you look for the bright spots, look to improve and you have to like what you are doing."

Chase Marshall appreciates the love, support and advice he gets from his family.

But one thing sticks, every time he steps on the diamond. Something his mother reminds him of often, he says.

"Embrace it. If you do that you will never be mad or sad about what you have done."

Seems to be working pretty well so far.


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