When Abbotsford’s Raine Padgham is pitching, there is crying in baseball

When Abbotsford’s Raine Padgham is pitching, there is crying in baseball

First player to ever play on a girls and boys team at theWestern Canadian Baseball Championships

Never before has pink hair struck such fear into the hearts of young batters.

Abbotsford’s Raine Padgham became the first player to ever play on a girls and boys team at the Western Canadian Baseball Championships last weekend, and her dominance of both genders has been turning heads.

Standing only five feet tall and weighing a little over 100 pounds, Padgham strikes out boys much bigger and stronger than her and can hold her own in the batter’s box and out in the field.

Often times, the last thing a batter sees is her signature flow of pink hair after she tricks them with one of her signature pitches. Padgham has been rocking the pink hair since the age of six, and explained why she was motivated to colour her brown locks.

“When I was pitching and I used to have short hair, whenever I would strike out a boy, so many of them would say, ‘Who is that guy?’ ” she said. “I would have to turn to them and say, ‘I’m a girl.’ I got sick of doing that so I dyed my hair pink so they would know.”

Both boys and girls became well aware of Padgham’s prowess on the mound at the WCBCs, which ran in Kamloops from Aug. 17 to 20. The 12-year-old Grade 7 Abbotsford Middle School student played on the B.C. Selects girls team and then was scooped up by the host Kamloops Riverdogs pee wee boys team for the tournament.

It marked the first time in the history of the event that a girl had ever participated against boys.

But the moment didn’t seem to intimidate Padgham. She helped lead the B.C. Selects to a championship, clinching the title by pitching a no-hitter against Alberta on Sunday. She was dominant in her appearances for the boys team, but the two teams had to manage her pitch count between them, limiting her time on the mound against the boys.

“She started the Kamloops boys game [on Sunday] and we led 2-1 but she reached her agreed pitch count of under 30 so she could continue into the girls’ gold-medal game,” explained her father, Allan Padgham. “I know from sitting in the crowd that Kamloops parents were asking why the coach would pull her when she strikes everyone out: ‘Just leave her in.’ ”

It’s not just the mound where she excelled, as Padgham contributed with several hits and solid fielding while playing against the boys. Kamloops head coach Tim Foster said she was a valuable part of the boys team, which finished fourth at the event.

“She can obviously throw the ball. She plays defence very well. We played her at shortstop and she can play other positions,” he told Kamloops TV station CFJC. “And when she gets up to bat, she hits the ball well too.”

Baseball has been a part of Padgham’s life since she can remember. She began participating in the sport at the age of three. It’s a family affair, as her father played single A baseball professionally in the United States and her older brother Chance Padgham is also a well-regarded player in the Aldergrove Minor Baseball system.

She said she picked up the sport relatively quickly.

“I kind of knew I was pretty good after about a year when my parents would get complaints from other parents that I was throwing the ball too hard,” she said with a grin.

Her father said they worked on the basics of the game with Raine early, and she has kept up the hard work.

“She started so young so as soon as she could throw she wanted to be out there doing it,” Allan said. “She learned the mechanics at a really young age and once you have that part of throwing down, the velocity comes after.”

As a pitcher, Padgham has a knuckleball, a fastball, change-up and a submarine sidearm pitch that transforms into a very-difficult-to-hit curveball. She can already throw in the mid-60 miles per hour range, and if she continues developing at her current pace, she could eventually reach speeds of 80 mph or higher.

Playing against boys is nothing new for Padgham; she has been doing it her whole life, but admits she does get a little bit of joy from sending boys back to the dugout.

“I’ve made boys cry before, after striking them out,” she said. “It makes me feel kind of happy, I guess.”

The recent story of Claire Eccles, the first woman to pitch in the men’s West Coast League with the Victoria Harbourcats, helped inspire Padgham, and the two baseball stars are well aware of each other.

“Raine knows Claire quite well because she was actually a bat girl for Team B.C. at the women’s national back in 2014 and that’s how they met each other,” her father said. “Claire has come out to some of the B.C. Selects tryouts before, and what she’s been able to has been really awesome.”

Padgham said her ultimate goal is to represent Team Canada – on both the boys and girls teams at the Olympics and other international events.

Allan said he wants her to compete against boys as long as she can, and for her to follow her dreams in the sport.

“If she can stay up with the boys and dominate like she has, she will just become a better player,” he said. “We’re hoping she will stay with the boys as long as she can and then the goal of any sport is to get a scholarship. But she also potentially wants to play for the Team Canada women’s team at the 2020 Olympics. She’ll be 15 then. And, ultimately, she wants to play on both the girls and boys team for Canada. That’ll be tough but she wants to try.”

For more information on Padgham and her baseball journey, visit her website at rainepadgham.weebly.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

When Abbotsford’s Raine Padgham is pitching, there is crying in baseball

When Abbotsford’s Raine Padgham is pitching, there is crying in baseball

When Abbotsford’s Raine Padgham is pitching, there is crying in baseball

Just Posted

Abbotsford's Rick Hansen Secondary School is celebrating Vaisakhi virtually for 2021. (Submitted)
VIDEO: Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen Secondary School celebrates ‘Virtual Vaisakhi’

Production highlights local youth talent in anticipation of the start of annual festival on April 13

The Abbotsford Gogos are inviting local residents to watch a virtual concert in support of African grandmothers. The concert first airs on April 15. (Photo: Abbotsford Gogos Facebook page)
Abbotsford Gogos invite guests to virtual concert to support African grandmothers

Event first airs on April 15, featuring music, dance and storytelling

(Image by RitaE from Pixabay)
There’s a very easy way to help local restaurants … order takeout

Let’s Eat supports dining establishments during difficult time

RCMP patch. (File)
Young prolific offender from Hope faces another raft of charges

Jacob Paul Sihata charged in 3rd set of serious incidents since he was 19

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read