Jaida Lee leads N.L.'s under-17 baseball team to win with strong pitching performance
Lee has learned to thrive under pressure on the mound
Jaida Lee, 15, can play just about any position on the baseball diamond, but she says there's nothing like the thrill of staring down batters on the pitcher's mound.
Lee has been turning heads as the only girl on the Newfoundland and Labrador U-17 baseball team, recently pitching the team's only win at a recent Atlantic tournament in Dartmouth, N.S.
But Jaida is modest, despite her success.
"We won the game," she told CBC Radio's On The Go.
"It was a great show. She did very well out there pitching," her mother, Amanda, chimed in.
"She had a great team to back her up as well. The most impressive thing to me was that it was her first time pitching of the season, she's just back from an injury."
Jaida said she has been pitching since she was about six years old and has learned to thrive under the pressure of pitching on both boys' and girls' teams in tournaments.
"I like the control of it, how you can set the pace of the game," she said.
"I find with baseball you don't get many balls hit to you during the game but as the pitcher you always have the ball in your hand. You're always in control of the game."
She said the confidence has come from a desire to get better every day, along with a great support system from coaches and her parents.
"I'm always a bag of nerves for the first inning when she's pitching," Amanda said.
"It doesn't matter who she's playing or what tournament.… I was like, 'Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,' [But] as soon as the first inning is done, I'm like, 'She did it, of course she did.'"
Jaida said playing with the boys' team is nothing new, since she's played with her brothers locally for years.
While Amanda said she still gets the occasional double-take from some coaches being the only girl playing in a boys' tournament, she said the game puts everyone on an equal playing field.
23 Grad <a href="https://twitter.com/jaidalee23?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jaidalee23</a> gives up 2 with 2 more Ks. Smooth, easy delivery with good control.<br>PEI leads 2-0<a href="https://twitter.com/BaseballNL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BaseballNL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/PbrAtlantic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PbrAtlantic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/premiersportsNL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@premiersportsNL</a> <a href="https://t.co/OhP2axqzpY">pic.twitter.com/OhP2axqzpY</a>—@PBR_NS_Scout
"They always go, 'Is that a girl out there?' and I'm like, 'Oh yeah, that's my daughter,'" she laughed.
Jaida said she has aspirations to play college baseball in the future, with the ultimate goal of representing Team Canada. But for now, it's all about continuing to get better every day.
"I always try to be better," she said. "I'm never OK with my current skill. So I'm always pitching to be better."
With files from On The Go