CLOVERDALE – Hayley Grice of the Cloverdale Spurs is a trailblazer.
The 13-year-old is the only girl participating in this years Peewee AAA B.C. Provincial Championships.
Grice – who has played ball since she was five – usually plays first or third base and occasionally pitches.
Despite being the only female on the team, she still enjoys it and has played with and against her teammates for years.
She thought about playing softball, but decided that baseball was what she wanted to pursue.
"It’s way more competitive," said Hayley. "I went and watched (the softball team), but it wasn’t good enough."
Her mother, Dawn, said that the Grice family is a baseball family and Hayley was raised on the diamond, which has given her a passion for the sport. She has even played on the same team as her 14-year-old brother.
"She’s very, very competitive. She likes playing with the boys," Dawn said.
Tim Blake, Grice’s coach, has been coaching baseball for 30 years and this is the first time he’s had a girl on one of his teams.
"She works her butt off all the time. She can play with the best of them," Blake said. "It’s pretty obvious because she’s out here with the top-level kids at this age group in B.C. and she can hold her own."
Blake said that she is a strong part of his team and that won’t change.
"There’s no special treatment," he said. "There’s not a problem at all. She’s a hard working kid and she plays the game well."
Blake also said that because her teammates have played with and against her in the past, there is team unity and Grice fits in without any issues.
"She just fits in seamlessly," he added. Dawn said the team and association has been supportive of her daughter playing peewee baseball.
"You don’t get too much negativity about a girl playing in a boy’s sport," Dawn said.
Playing on a boy’s team is not the only time she’s had to prove people wrong. When
she was seven years old, doctors didn’t think Hayley would walk again.
"She had bone deterioration that we didn’t know. They misdiagnosed and though she had cerebral palsy. It was her whole spine had jumped forward so it severed some nerves. She woke up and couldn’t really walk," Dawn said.
Hayley was placed in a body cast and wasn’t able to run or jump for a year and her mother feared the worst.
"When we were sitting there with four surgeons and they said there’s a good chance she can’t walk, it’s pretty heart wrenching," Dawn said.
However, Hayley was determined to beat the odds and managed to leave the hospital
two weeks before doctors predicted she would.
Today, Hayley plays baseball at the highest level during the spring while playing hockey in the winter.
"The fact that she’s doing all that is kind of crazy. She’s a tough cookie," said Dawn.
Cloverdale Minor Baseball hosted the provincial championships this past weekend at Cloverdale Ball Park, which is at 17383 61A Avenue.
As of Friday, Hayley’s team was 0-2. Along with the Cloverdale Spurs, White Rock also qualified for the tournament.
To find results from the tournament, follow @peeweeaaa2014 on Twitter.