Pettapiece slides into second at nationals

Baseball player Rhianna Pettapiece is the Chronicle's Athlete of the Month for August.

Baseball player Rhianna Pettapiece returned home from the senior women’s nationals with a silver medal.

Baseball player Rhianna Pettapiece returned home from the senior women’s nationals with a silver medal.

Having experienced the rigours of national and international competition two years in a row, you could say Rhianna Pettapiece’s baseball career is nicely rounding the bases.

Just last month, Pettapiece returned home from the senior women’s nationals with a silver medal, after she and her Team BC teammates were defeated by Ontario in the finals.

But for Pettapiece, home base will always be the grounds at Chemainus Ball Field, where her love of the game played out from the age of four.

“I’ve played there most of my life,” she said.

Pettapiece, now 18, got her foundation with the Chemainus Baseball Association as a pitcher and first baseman.

After years of game development, she played on the Cowichan Valley Mustangs Midget AAA for one year, then moved on to practise with the junior Pirates premiere league in Nanaimo for a season.

“Before I went to nationals, I had never played with women; I was just always on the guys’ team and that was that,” she said. “It was pretty much just me and the guys.”

However, her love of the game has taken her to places like Cuba, with Team Canada’s junior women’s team, and Spruce Grove, Alta., where this year’s nationals took place July 25-28. Out of six games played, Team BC won four.

“It was definitely an interesting game; we went into that game having beat all the other teams, and so it was really tough,” she said of the  final match. “We had barely beat Ontario in the round robin, and coming back, they stepped it up and did really well.”

Pettapiece has helped coach clinics at the Chemainus Ball Field but has since moved away to university in Victoria.

Pettapiece says she hopes to play for Team BC again next year and has her sights set on the Team Canada senior women’s team.

“I absolutely love the sport — it’s kind of my absolute passion,” she said.

“It’s something that I’ve loved ever since I was a kid, and it keeps getting better.”