Abbotsford’s Raine Padgham has signed with the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack baseball team and this fall she will become the first female player in team history.
Padgham recently graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary School and the pitcher had interest from several schools but said the Kamloops-based school felt like the best fit for her right now. She said TRU baseball head coach Ray Chadwick scouted her in the fall and made her feel comfortable very quickly.
“It was the feeling of being wanted,” she said of the recruitment process with TRU. “The campus in general is so beautiful too so I thought for my first year, especially academically, it would be a good choice to go there with the smaller class sizes.”
She will be primarily a pitcher for the Wolfpack, but Padgham said she also hopes to get some time playing somewhere on the infield. Padgham said it will be a step up from playing against U18 players to college-aged, but she said she is looking forward to the new challenge.
“It’s definitely a little intimidating but I’m also noticing my own pitching skills that I’ll definitely be able to compete,” she said. “Playing against older guys and even having older guys on my own team will make me work harder and I’ll have some role models on my team too.”
Padgham has never played against boys over 18, but she pointed out that she has regularly played against women in their 20s and 30s. She said her goal is to create more opportunities for women to play the game at higher levels.
“It’s definitely a blessing to get the chance to play in a university program,” she said. “I’m mainly just hoping to open up other universities for other women who are looking to go down that same path and hopefully bring up my chances of going and playing at a higher level.”
Let's GO 🔥
B.C.'s Raine Padgham just threw possibly the fastest pitch by a female player, and certainly the fastest ever by a 15-year-old, clocking 134 km/h 🤯
— The GIST Canada (@thegistca) September 8, 2020
After several years on the Abbotsford Cardinals, Padgham joined the Cloverdale Rangers college prep team this season and has continued to impress. Her pitching arsenal includes a slider, change-up and a fastball. She added she is also working on perfecting a few other pitches. She regularly throws in the 80 miles per hour range and is aiming to get her fastball up to an 85 mph.
Padgham initially got on the radar of The News back in 2017 when she became the first player to ever play on a girls and boys team at the Western Canadian Baseball Championships. She went on to make the Team B.C. U13 Selects boys provincial team in 2018 and also received an invitation to train with the Team Canada women’s baseball team in 2019 at the age of 13.
In 2019 she became the first-ever girl to be named to the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) Cardinals bantam team. She also made headlines in 2020 for throwing an 83 mph fastball at a Baseball B.C. High Performance Camp that year. She then went on to be named one of the Canadian Baseball Network’s 2020 Most Influential Canadians in Baseball list.
TRU plays in the Canadian College Baseball Conference. The season typically runs from March to May with some fall games and exhibition games sprinkled in. They compete against seven other teams, including the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. UFV plays home games at Fairfield Park in Chilliwack.
Padgham will next play at the Women’s Nationals from July 27 to 30 in Nova Scotia and suit up for Canada at the World Cup qualifying event in Thunder Bay, Ont. from Aug. 8 to 12.