Ellie MacAulay is seen here with legendary baseball player, Lázaro Valle.

ST. PETER’S: A trip to Cuba to play high-level baseball at Havana’s Estadio Latinoamericano (Spanish for Latin American Stadium) would be a thrill for most athletes but for St. Peter’s baseball player Ellie MacAulay, the trip is something of a late-winter tradition.

“I had an opportunity to participate again this year [at Baseball Canada’s Women’s National Development Camp] and not many people are fortunate enough to play there,” said MacAulay, chatting with The Reporter early last week. “I was lucky enough to go.”

The camp ran from February 17-24, and MacAualy said the level of training was exceptional.

St. Peter’s Ellie MacAulay (fourth from left) recently returned from Cuba where she attended the Women’s National Development Camp and earned a place on the National Prospects team. She’s pictured with Wayne Parro, Andre Lachance, Mark Healy, and head coach Aaron Myette.

“We played games against what would be the Junior National Cuba team, and some of those girls went to the World Cup last year,” she said. “Cuba and Canada have a really good relationship, and it was great to play against them.

“After the camp was finished, national coach Aaron Myette asked me to be on the Prospects Team.”

This marks the second consecutive year MacAulay made the Prospects Team, which competes at the Baseball Canada Women’s Invitational. The tournament hosts five provincial teams and the prospects squad. Last year, the prospects went 4-3 at the Montreal-based show.

This summer, the event will be held in Okotoks, Alberta from July 4-7.

“Our province doesn’t have its own team,” MacAulay explained. “Our population is too low, and we aren’t at that stage yet, but being able to get to the tournament is really something.

“This season, I’ll also get to represent my province twice: once with the U21 and the U16. It’s going to be my last year on the U16 team, and we’re hosting that. The U21s will be in Ottawa.”

She’s also hoping to get on the field with the Strait Area Sting on the Midget level.

Last summer, MacAulay was awfully busy. She won sivler with both the national prospects team and the Nova Scotia U16, and she took bronze with the Nova Scotia U21s. She was also at the Women’s National Development Camp in the spring of 2018.

While the summer promises to have lots in store for the St. Peter’s pitcher, the late winter is proving to be very exciting – and not just with the development camp. Last Thursday (March 7) she flew out of Stanfield International heading for the southern United States for a rare opportunity to show off her skills.

The MLB GRIT Invitational was taking place at the Globe Life Park, the home of the Texas Rangers.

“There were seven Canadians selected to go, and it’s a big thing for girls’ baseball,” MacAulay said. “They’ll be scouts there taking a look at all the players.”

The inaugural event is a high school invitational designed specifically for women to take part in a premier development experience while playing in a major league park. Major League Baseball and USA Baseball co-hosted approximately 60 young women for the event.

It was at the development camp in Cuba where MacAulay was recruited.

“The general manager asked if I’d be interested, and then he asked me to apply,” she explained. “That way, I was put on a priority list and I had a good chance of being selected based on his recommendation.

“It’s a real taste of professional baseball.”

The 16-year-old Richmond Academy and Education Centre student arrived back last Monday. It was her first trip to the United States.

Incidentally, The Reporter isn’t the only media source keeping track of MacAulay’s accomplishments. While in Texas, she chatted with the good folks from the local Fox News affiliate about baseball. The story featuring her interview can be found at www.fox4news.com.

The Web link is http://www.fox4news.com/news/mlb-grit-invitational-held-in-north-texas-to-showcase-high-school-girls-playing-baseball?fbclid=IwAR3_9_JV2LGk8Z7ZeQ2PCpm2g-3KFv-GivH_bj-lBCbz22mgm44BzqW0DWM