By Henry Bushey, Contributor
Shelburne native and CVU sophomore Elise Berger has been attracting a lot of national attention for her prodigious baseball skills. Just a couple of months ago, she was one of only 40 girls from around the nation attending the US Women’s National Development Camp in Florida. There, she trained with some of the top female baseball players in the country and was invited to stay and workout with the US WND Team after. Around a month later, she went to the MLB Girls Baseball Breakthrough Camp in Arlington, Texas, to further her baseball education. “It was a truly amazing experience. It was both an honor and was humbling to play against the best women in the country in Florida and the best girls in Arlington,” Elise wrote. The players would wake up, eat breakfast at the hotel they were staying at, and then go for a morning workout at the training facilities. “Typically, we would split into groups and work fielding/pitching, hitting and conditioning. That would usually take three hours, and we would get lunch after, followed by heading to the stadiums and getting ready for pregame,” Elise said. “Once the games finished up, we would talk with our teams and have a classroom session with the coaches and/or other speakers who came.”
Opportunities such as these don’t come often, and they open up a ton of new avenues to success. “I have made a lot of new connections, a bunch of new friends, coaches and mentors. A lot of the coaches have tons of connections in the baseball world and are more than happy to help any of us in any way possible. Being able to play with them in the future and the lifelong connections you make are huge opportunities that got opened up to me just this fall,” Elise added.
When asked what she thought was the most helpful thing she learned in attending these national camps, Elise said, “Learning from the coaches. We learned about everything from nutrition and recovery to scouting to all the different skills in the game. I would say that the classroom session where we got to talk to the coaches and ask questions about things past the physical parts of the game was really important. I have pages of notes that I took during those sessions and took away more new information to implement in all aspects of my game and life to get better every day and plan for my future. The connections are also big connections that are both helpful now and in the future. Having people that I know will support me and help me in every way they can is an amazing feeling.”
To receive an invitation to camps such as these is an amazing accomplishment, as making it into one means that Elise is one of the top female ballplayers in the nation. Remarking on this, Elise said, “It’s definitely an honor to be there and play at these camps. It’s amazing to watch everyone play at such a high, competitive level, and to be a part of that. I know that everyone has worked hard and has faced adversity to be there. It drives me to get better and to compete harder every time that I show up to another camp. I definitely still have a lot of work to do to play with the national team. But being there just shows how hard you need to work and how willing everyone is to do that.”
According to Elise, her favorite part of the camps was, “definitely playing the games and hanging out with everyone. To see girls and women be super competitive and driven in the game, all while having fun with each other is amazing. Even once the games were over we would hang out until curfew, even if we had just met each other a day or two prior. We get to play baseball with people who have the same passion and there’s really nothing better.”