Photo by: Laura Burnside
OTTAWA (Sep.26.2018) – Amended: Oct.1.2018
On September 5th, 2018 Tess Forman stepped on the mound at RCGT Stadium for the Carleton Ravens baseball team and into the Canadian University baseball history books. Forman became the first recorded female student-athlete to pitch in a Northern Conference game in the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Association.
On that night Forman was the fourth pitcher in a parade of five Ravens hurlers that held cross-town rival the University of Ottawa Gee Gees to one run, taking the first of the four-game local “O-Train Series” 11-1. She pitched one scoreless inning, walking one Gee Gee and striking out another.
“Jillian Stymest at St. FX was the first recorded female pitcher in the league a few years ago” said Atlantic Commissioner Mark MacNevin. But Forman is breaking new ground for the Ravens and the Northern Conference.
Forman is no stranger to playing baseball with men. “I’ve been the only girl on the team my whole life” she says. “I’m used to it and I like proving that I can play.”
That she can pitch there is very little doubt. Forman is a member of Team Ontario and pitched for Canada’s U20 Gold medal squad in the Dominican Republic in 2016. She has also played for the Ottawa Knights and in a series of exhibition games against Team USA.
Coach Andre Robidoux says the decision to include Forman on the roster was easy. As the father of a young daughter, Robidoux is particularly sensitive to baseball opportunities available to women, but in the end, his decision was purely competitive. “She deserves it,” he says a matter-of-factly. “I’ve got no doubt she’s going to help us win. That’s what matters. She’s got talent.”
All indications are that she will be an important asset, leveraging an effective change-up to frustrate hitters. “I see my role as being ready to pitch whenever I’m needed and to mess with hitters’ timing,” she notes. Forman has been executing in that role so far. She hasn’t surrendered a run in three league appearances.
Team President George Rigakos adds that “everyone I speak to who knows baseball, especially in the Ottawa area, knows Tess and no-one is surprised she’s wearing a Ravens uniform.”
While Forman probably won’t be overpowering hitters, she is a pitcher who knows her strengths. “Playing-wise my goal is always just to hit my spots and attack the zone.” Yet, in just over two innings of work she has already collected a couple of strikeouts.
The Ravens play the Gee Gees again this Wednesday night at RCGT Stadium and then start their playoff drive on October 6th.