When it comes to baseball, 14-year-old has her bases covered
Updated: October 8, 2012 1:56AM
You might say that Riley Frisbie covers a lot of bases.
The 14-year-old Countryside resident covers the bases pretty much every day during the summer as a prolific baseball and softball player. She plays for the all-girl Chicago Pioneers age group travel baseball program as well as the Western Springs Tigers travel baseball club and for La Grange Little League’s age-group softball team.
That schedule meant that Frisbie put in a lot of time on the field this year.
“She’s had a day off maybe once every two weeks. Sometimes, we’d have two games a night,” reports Riley’s mom, Katie Frisbie.
Frisbie, for her part, says that keeping track of all the places and times she was playing required her to be committed — and organized.
“In the middle of my closet, I have a drawer for baseball, and one drawer just for my baseball belts,” the teenager says with a grin.
The season has been successful for Frisbie in many ways. The Tigers team had a strong year, while the La Grange Little League District 14’s softball team on which she played made the state finals in Morristown a couple of weeks ago.
Earlier this year, Frisbie was thrilled to join the Chicago Pioneers, a team that was founded in Chicago in 2006 to provide opportunities for girls age 15 and under to play baseball with their peers of similar age and same gender. The Chicago Pioneers have a junior Pony team as well as a team of 14- to 16-year-old players, on which Frisbie plays.
A few weeks ago, Frisbie got to play a game with the Pioneers in the legendary baseball town of Cooperstown, Ohio, at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
“I had never been to Cooperstown before, and it was really cool. I didn’t expect it expect it to be that big — the grounds are just huge and it is field after field,” she says.
According to Frisbie, the Pioneers certainly attracted attention of their own at the Cooperstown All Star Tournament, since all-girl baseball games there are rare. In fact, the Pioneers were the first all-girls team to participate in games at the park.
“Everyone came out to watch our game — and the staff, too,” she recalls.
It was a distinctive experience in other ways: the girls couldn’t stay in the dorms with the boys teams, so they bunked in the infirmary on the park’s grounds.
Mom Katie Frisbie agrees that the girls’ game was a hot ticket.
“In the pin trading (a common ritual in Cooperstown), the Pioneers’ pins were trading like wildfire,” she reports.
Next week, Frisbie and her Pioneers teammates, who hail from all over the Midwest, are taking part in another memorable series of games.
Indeed, if baseball is as all-American as apple pie, then Frisbie soon will bring a slice of that pie to Canada, when she travels with the Pioneers baseball team for a major girls’ baseball tournament in Nova Scotia.
“It’s a huge opportunity, because it’s the very first women’s baseball international tournament,” says Katie Frisbie.
Riley Frisbie says she is looking forward to the games in Nova Scotia, and having fun with her new friends on the 14- to 16-year-old Pioneers team. She says that she and her teammates share a love of baseball, which remains a traditional male sport.
So, why does she, like her Pioneers teammates, prefer that game to softball?
“It’s more intense and it’s faster moving,” she sums up.
And while she has a “League of their Own” kind of experience with the Pioneers (a quick shout-out to one of my favorite movies, the 1992 film about a World War II-era women’s baseball team), Frisbie says she grown up playing with the guys. She is used to being the only girl on the team, from her time playing on Little League and travel team baseball teams to her stint in grade school playing football for St. Cletus School in La Grange.
According to her mom, she’s typically welcomed and appreciated for her talents on fields that are dominated by boys.
“You might get one or two people who say something (about Frisbie being a girl on a boys’ team) but once she goes out and pitches, they don’t say it again,” Katie Frisbie points out.
As she heads into high school later this month as a freshman at Lyons Township High School, Frisbie is looking ahead to another level of experience in athletics.
“I’d like to play baseball, and I will talk to my coaches and see,” she says.
And while she may cover a lot of bases — and regularly smacks home runs — Riley Frisbie is ultimately a team player who simply loves the game. And in that way, she really hits it out of the park.
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