Playing with the big kids

Aiyana Basi heads down south to show off her softball prowess.

Aiyana Basi was on her way to tryouts for the rep softball team in Prince George when she got the call she was chosen to be on the Canada Futures softball team.

“I didn’t really know what to say to the coach,” Basi said.

“I was really excited, but all I could say was ‘Oh my God, thank you.”

With that call, Basi was welcomed on to a team of young, Canadian women that will take on a host of college teams on a tour through Georgia and Alabama.

The call came in the middle of a softball summer for Basi, who plays ball here in Quesnel.

Basi spent July playing slo pitch, then transitioned into softball in August, with practices almost every night, she said.

She ended up playing almost as much softball out of town as on her home home diamond, as she ended July and began August at softball camps.

She went to Oliver at the end of July, spent a night at home and took off to Kamloops for the camp hosted by Beyond the White Lines. It was there she met the coach for the Canada Futures team and was invited to try out in White Rock the last weekend of August.

So once again, she packed her bags and headed out to play softball.

But Basi, who is in grade 10, soon realized she was competing against Gr. 11 and 12 girls.

“I was kind of intimidated because I  was the youngest girl there. And to see girls from all over the country and across the province playing – it was really intimidating,” she said.

After months of practicing, Basi was at the top of her game and played well, so two weeks later she got the call.

“It feels really good, knowing that I’m the youngest and still made it,” she said.

With her team, Basi will fly to Atlanta Oct. 12.

It will be her first time on vacation without her parents, but she’s not too worried about it.

“I’m excited to leave,” she said.

Her parents, of course, are the ones with the nerves, but after a summer travelling around with their daughter , this time they’ll have to let her go.

Once there, the team tours Georgia and Alabama, playing college teams from around the south.

The real challenge, besides some great players, is the team will be playing a slightly different brand of ball.

They’ll be playing on bigger diamonds and with stricter rules.

Basi will be playing first base and pitching. The pitching will be a big change, as pitching mound is further away from home base.

“It’ll be really different going from our rules here to University rules,” she said.

The trip will culminate in a large tournament, with the girls once again batting it out against a host of older teams.

During the week of play, the scouts will be present. Basi said the team has 100 per cent recruitment rate.

Though she may be the youngest one on the diamond, she still wants to impress the scouts.

She’s got her eyes on the stars, hoping to impress Harvard or UCLA to help her pursue her dream of becoming asports psychologist or a psychiatric nurse.