By Hayley Wildes
There’s never a bad time to hit a home-run. But there are times when a home-run is needed more than others,and Pakenham local Emily Devine, 15, understands that better than most.
Playing for Victoria in the gold medal match at the 2018 Youth Women’s Australian Baseball Championships in Geelong earlier this month, Devine stepped up in the biggest of moments.
With scores tied 0-0 at the midpoint of the game, with pitchers dominating proceedings, it was Devine who broke the deadlock.
She didn’t just break the deadlock though, she smashed it. A two-run homer that sailed over the heads of her New South Wales counterparts sent the crowd and her teammate’s wild.
Speaking about that hit, Devine admits she knew she’d hit it sweetly the moment it left her bat.
“When I hit it, I was like, ‘Oh that felt really good off the bat’, and I was hoping it went over. I sprinted really hard up the first base line, and then I was realised it was a homer.” Devine said.
The game needed a hero and it was Devine’s massive hit that proved the match-winner as Victoria claimed the Championship, 2-0.
Devine who plays locally in the Dandenong Baseball Association for the Springvale Lions over the summer and Berwick Dodgers in the winter, began her baseball journey five years ago with the Pakenham Pumas after watching movies and falling in love with the game.
Devine just had to try the sport and she wasn’t disappointed.
“It was just like what I’d seen [in the movies] and I just wanted to keep playing.” Devine said.
The Pakenham Pumas allowed Devine to hone her skills from a young age and were key to her development.
“The Pumas were really good. They taught me well and really showed me how to play the game.” Devine said.
Whilst all three clubs have played a massive role in Devine becoming one of the brightest young prospects in Victoria, one particular mentor stands out.
“Shae Lilywhite.” Devine said. “She’s helped me with technique, she’s helped me focus on the game and she’s just done so much in every aspect of the game for me.”
Baseball has taken her across the globe. Last July, Devine jetted off to Japan with a selection of the very best U25 Australian female baseballers.
It was an experience that Devine won’t soon forget.
“We all went to Japan to learn about how the Japanese play and how they train – just to really build on our skills. It was amazing.” Devine said.
What does the future hold for Devine in baseball? Whilst she hopes to continue to compete at the highest level possible, she also wants to focus on having fun.
“I just want to keep having fun with it – I’m in love with it so much.” Devine said.
“I really love the people – it’s a great community and everyone helps each other out, everybody is just there for you and it’s just very supportive.”
That community and support was evident in the lead up to the Nationals, as the Springvale Lions helped Devine tremendously with fundraising.
“I would really love to thank Springvale for fundraising and helping me get to Nationals.” Devine said.