Thirteen-year-old Fruitvale baseball phenom, Allison Schroder, will represent B.C. on not one but two provincial Select baseball teams this month.
The talented pitcher and shortstop was selected to both the U14 and U16 provincial All Star teams following tryouts in Vancouver in July. She will travel to Saguenay, Quebec with the U16 team to play in the U16 Canadian Baseball championship from Aug. 13-17, then hook up with the U14 Selects for the Western Canadian championship in Yorkton, Sask., Aug 21-24.
“It’s exciting knowing that you are going to play against some of the best in the country,” said Schroder who left for Vancouver on Friday.
Schroder will work out with both teams this week before leaving for Saguenay for the U16s.
The talented athlete grew up in Fruitvale, playing Little League with the Yankees and the Trail Little League All Star team. This past summer she played for the Trail ‘A’ Orioles in Washington State American Legion Baseball League, and was on the reserve roster with the AA Orioles that went to the Washington State championship this year.
The recent Fruitvale Elementary School graduate also played for the silver-medal winning U14 B.C. Select team at last year’s westerns, earning a win against Saskatchewan and a Game MVP honour for a 3-for-3 outing.
The right hander has a lethal mix of two seam and four seam fastballs, a circle change, and curve ball, but says her go-to pitch is the two-seam fastball. She’ll take that arsenal to the mound for the U14 team where she says she would like nothing more than to get another chance at gold.
“There’s a lot of returning players so I think we’ll have a bit more team dynamics,” said Schroder. “Last year we just came together for a few games, and there wasn’t really any practices, but we’re having lots of practices this year and there’s a lot of the same girls so we’ll know what the competition is.”
The U14s lost to Alberta in the final of last year’s Westerns, and Schroder says a little revenge would indeed be sweet.
“As a returning player, I think those of us that are veterans are going to have to take charge.”
Her role with the U16 team may be slightly different, however, as she expects to battle for a starting position going into the national tournament.
“I think I’ll be playing shortstop, but I’ll have to compete because there will be other short stops there that I’ll have to compete against on my own team to get a spot on the starting nine,” said Schroder, who would also like to see some time on the mound.
Little League All Star coach D. J. Ashman says Schroder is one of the most coachable and talented players he’s had the privilege to coach.
“It’s hard to describe, she’s everything you want in a player, it’s every coach’s dream to be able to coach her,” said Ashman. “You know what? She knows all facets of the game, and she’s going to do fine, playing with 16-year-olds is not going to be a problem for her.”
Team BC came seventh at last year’s U16 National championship, and will look to improve on that result. Quebec defeated Ontario 13-3 in the 2014 final, and BC will be thrown into the fire right from the start, having to face the defending champion to open this year’s tournament.
“I’m expecting that there’s going to be a bit more competition than the westerns, but I think our team can compete with them,” said Schroder. “I’m a bit nervous but I think I’ll be able to compete with the girls, and I’m hoping for lots of playing time.”
Eight teams are participating in the U16 Canadians including Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec 1, and Quebec 2 with all the games going at StadeArvida in Saguenay.
Mature beyond her years, Fruitvale’s most recent baseball phenom is excited about the opportunity, but keeps it in perspective.
“I want to be competitive and I want to win, but I’m also going to have fun, and enjoy the experience.”
Schroder joins the U14 and U16 BC Select teams this week for practice and team bonding. The mature teen is following in the base path of another Fruitvale native, Ella Matteucci, who recently won a silver medal with Team Canada with the women’s baseball team at the Pan Am Games, and will be playing at the same nationals with the BC Select women’s team.
“Working with her (Allison) for the last four winters, she’s improved every year, and I knew she was capable of this, and destined for even more,” said Ashman. “The skies the limit.”
The BC women’s team won bronze last year at the nationals with Matteucci driving in the lone run in a 1-0 victory over Quebec, while batting .522 to lead Team B.C. hitters.