The sky is the limit for talented young baseball local Kendra Rutgers.
Since picking up her first baseball as a toddler, Kendra, 12, a student at Kambrya College in Berwick, has thrown out every challenge in her wake…literally.
Kendra has been selected to represent Australia in Japan in July to August of this year to play in a local tournament as well as in the IBA Under 12 World Championships, and as a result becoming the first female to go on the tour.
She said it was a great honour to be able to represent her country, similar to other members of her family previously, with her older brother and uncle also strutting their stuff on the very same tour.
“I’m very excited to be playing for Australia,” she said.
“It’s always been a bit of a dream for me to be in this team since my older brother did the same tour six years ago. I feel it shall be a great honour.
“I am very proud to be the first female to go on this tour. I have a feeling it would have to be the best tournament I have ever played in.”
Kendra’s family connection through the game is deep. The family first got into baseball because of her grandfather – on her mother’s side – heavy involvement at the Dandenong Baseball Club since 1963, as well as his brother. Kendra’s father’s side have also been at the club since the 1980’s.
And with her family support and her coaches she’s steadily become one of the most promising players in the south-east, representing the Southern Mariners in the Little League Tournament, and recently winning a state championship. She’s also been selected in the Mariners Intermediate Academy which goes on to selecting a team to play nationals.
She described winning a state championship as one of the most satisfying moments of her career to date.
“It was one of the best weekends of my life,” she said.
“Not just because of the winning but because of the people around me and the coaches and definitely my team mates.”
In the intermediate academy, Kendra also said it’s been a terrific experience for her game, once again highlighting the support of her coaches and team mates.
“My most favourite thing about being in the team has got to be the people that are in the group and the coaches that take the time to help us kids like me to be better baseball players,” she said.
In the winter, Kendra plays her baseball at the Dandenong Baseball Club and the Mulgrave Rebels in summer, where she once again has shone.
And with her preparation for Japan in full swing, Kendra had plenty of people to thank for making a contribution to her journey so far.
“I would definitely like to thank my mum who has been there since day one, helping me get to my games and trainings on time and making sure I’m ready the night before a game,” she said.
“My poppy, Don Poole started our family tradition of baseball at Dandenong, and I’m third generation at the club.
“I would also like to thank all the coaches I have had so far they are definitely the most important people in this journey that have gotten me where I am today.”