Once again, Elizabeth Peery will vie for a top ranking in the nationwide Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run competition.
In 2019, Peery performed well enough to place third in the country while in Cleveland, after placing first for the region that includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
This landed her the opportunity to attend the MLB All-Star Game with her mother, also in Cleveland. She met professional baseball players, caught baseballs during a home run derby and attended a celebrity softball game.
The contest starts locally with athletes competing from different age groups at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, which occurred in June.
Peery, now a Ridgefield High School sophomore, made the top three for the 13-and 14-years-old softball division so she will travel to T-Mobile Park, where the Seattle Mariners play, for the team championships.
Players from all over the Pacific Northwest will compete on Sept. 12 for a chance to place in the top three in their age group.
Those who take first, second and third place in every age category will receive an expenses-paid trip to the upcoming World Series.
Peery’s love of softball started at a young age.
When she was in the third grade, Peery was playing baseball with the boys in her class when a staff member on recess duty came over and handed her a sticky note with information about youth softball. The employee said, “You should definitely try out.”
Peery gave the note to her parents. She then signed up and her love for the sport grew tremendously.
But her journey with softball has included challenges as well.
Peery’s world turned upside down during a softball tournament when she was 10 years old.
She was hit with a ball during one of the games, which was no big deal because she had been hit numerous times before but later that night, the same leg kept cramping up.
The next day, Peery woke up unable to walk because of the intense pain in her leg that had been hit. Her parents rushed her to the emergency room, where the doctor decided to have her blood tested as a precaution.
Once the results came back, the doctor called to urge Peery to return to the hospital because her blood sugar was extremely high.
Her diagnosis came back as Type 1 diabetes, a condition where the pancreas makes little to no insulin.
Peery said adjusting to a brand-new lifestyle was a struggle. Suddenly, she had to count her carbs, measure her blood sugar constantly and inject insulin shots.
“It was a shock for sure,” her mother Katie Peery said. “It was a mourning period because I didn’t know what it was going to mean for her life.”
Five years later, it’s just a part of her daily routine. Elizabeth now has an insulin pump and Dexcom, a device to monitor glucose levels that also sends alerts every five minutes to both her and her mother’s phones.
Sometimes when Elizabeth’s blood sugar levels are low during softball games, she sits on the sidelines for an inning. But the setbacks haven’t stopped her from accomplishing her goals.
“Elizabeth’s diabetes has never gotten in the way of her doing anything she’s wanted to do,” Katie said.
Elizabeth has her sights set on college softball, with her dream team being at University of Washington or the University of California, Los Angeles.
To start her high school career, Elizabeth made the varsity team as a freshman and ended the season with a 14-2 record. She made the first team for all-league selections, which are voted on by the local coaches.
“It was exciting to go out and play with all my idols who I had been watching on the field in high school,” Elizabeth said.
She also competes on a tournament team based in Vancouver called Rampage Fastpitch Softball. The team travels to play games out-of-state in places like California, Las Vegas, Utah and Arizona.
Elizabeth pitches and occasionally plays third and second base.
The Peery family has lived in the Ridgefield area off and on since Elizabeth was born 15 years ago.
When she’s off the field, she can be found playing varsity volleyball, serving on student government and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
The competition she’ll take part in this September includes three portions: pitching, hitting and running.
The pitching portion tests the accuracy of a person’s strike using a target from 35 feet away. For the hitting part, competitors hit softballs from a batting tee, which will be measured by distance and accuracy. Lastly, participants are measured by speed during a 120-foot sprint from a start line to third base to home plate.
To prepare, Elizabeth regularly practices hitting off a tee, and her high school friends even come out to spend hours working on hitting, throwing and agility with her.
“The passion the game gives me fuels me to try every day,” Elizabeth said.