Rhianna Pettapiece is more than happy to give back to budding young baseball players in Chemainus.
After all, she was once one of them, receiving coaching and sponsor support from so many people en route to great success in baseball.
Tadpole players are fortunate to have Pettapiece’s expertise to call upon as they learn the intricacies of the game.
“I grew up playing in Chemainus and the Chemainus baseball club always helped me out,” she said. “I’m happy to help out and come back next year, no matter what the age group.”
The 2011 graduate of Chemainus Secondary School, who turns 29 later this year, has always been a natural athletic talent but worked hard at becoming a better baseball player.
Helping out the two Chemainus tadpole teams – the Rockets and the Raptors – during the Forrest Memorial tournament at the Chemainus Ball Park and in Ladysmith brought cause for reflection for Pettapiece.
“That was their big season-ending tournament,” she noted. “It kind of ends with their school year.”
Despite some occasional inclement weather during tournament weekend, “it actually worked out really, really nicely,” Pettapiece added.
The Chemainus & District Baseball Association is naturally grateful for everything Pettapiece has done for the kids.
“Her volunteerism and dedication to helping our young players this year has been amazing,” noted Lara White, the secretary of the association. “She is giving back to her local community and is an inspiration to all of us volunteering parents.”
“I do remember playing on that field as a little kid,” recalled Pettapiece. “It’s funny looking back, it always seemed so serious and competitive.”
Baseball has always been a big part of her life, unlike most girls who get into softball.
Pettapiece actually moved to Vancouver in 2013 for her job, but came back to the island during the start of the COVID era in 2020 and now lives in Ladysmith, working for Bennett Land Surveying.
Her own baseball abilities really took off during high school, beginning with a Team B.C. appearance at the girls’ bantam level in Grade 9. She played on the Mustangs Midget AAA team out of Ladysmith in Grade 11 and practiced and played with the Junior Pirates Premier League team during Grade 12.
Pettapiece then moved to Victoria until 2013, playing on a men’s team there. She was a Team B.C. women’s team member several times and played on different men’s and women’s teams on the Lower Mainland over the years.
Following limited or no play during the last two COVID seasons, Pettapiece has been playing with the Drillers of the Coal Miners Baseball League at Nanaimo’s Serauxmen Stadium as time permits.
She advises the kids to keep working at it because it takes a lot of practice to become proficient in any sport.
“Beginning of the year, a lot of the kids didn’t want to be close to the ball, never mind trying to hit it or catch it.”
The big thing, Pettapiece added, is “they want to be there and they want to learn. They’re all over it.”