HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) - The CVU baseball program has long been one of the powers in Vermont’s Division 1, but this year, one Redhawk in particular has been turning heads.
“I’ve just always played baseball,” said Redhawk junior pitcher and third baseman Elise Berger. “My dad’s a really big baseball fan, so he would always have it on in the house and signed me up for tee ball. And I kind of just went from there.”
There aren’t a ton of girls in this country who make it on to a varsity baseball roster.
“We throw out a girl, she’s our starting pitcher, and she absolutely shuts them down,” said senior outfielder Kyle Tivnan. “I love it every time I see it.”
For Berger, playing with the guys is nothing new.
“All of the guys I’ve played with over the years have been super supportive,” Berger said. “It’s not really been a big deal that I’m a girl. Never really had the opposition some girls have.”
“I mean obviously at the start it was probably a little strange seeing a girl play,” said senior second baseman Robert Fragola. “Pretty soon after, we just realized she was just another teammate and she was just looking to contribute to the team like anyone else would.”
The Shelburne Little League product has impressed teammates and coaches throughout her baseball career, so her success is no surprise to them.
“It’s been great,” said CVU head coach Nicky Elderton. “I’ve known Elise since she’s been in Kindergarten, first grade working over at Shelburne (Elementary). And just seeing her go through the ranks of Little League and now at CVU varsity, it’s just been awesome to see her development. And it just shows her work ethic is just unbelievable. Every opportunity that she gets, she’s been very successful.”
She even earned a callup with the US women’s national baseball team to play in a Friendship Series against Canada last Summer.
“Playing with the national team was an amazing experience,” Berger said. “Definitely very eye opening both in where I’m at and where I still need to develop and grow to play at that level.”
Berger is a two-sport star for the Redhawks, and she played a huge role in guiding the CVU girls hoops team to the D1 title in March.
“Playing both baseball and basketball works out, especially in high school,” she said. “Because it’s different seasons and they don’t overlap too much. So in the Summer, I spend most of my time playing baseball and traveling, but you know I’ll find courts here and there to work.”
But Berger says baseball is her primary focus.
“I’m also trying to play baseball in college and see where that kinda goes,” she said. “Definitely talking with some schools right now.”
Berger and the Redhawks will be one of the favorites to celebrate at Centennial in a couple weeks. And while she hopes to contribute to another CVU title, Berger is committed to helping younger girls follow in her footsteps.
“I really hope I am a role model for a lot of young girls,” she said. “And I know there are more girls in the Little Leagues than when I was playing, which is really cool to see. And so definitely when there’s any opportunities to go watch and support them or help coach or anything like that, I love working with younger girls. And definitely something I want to keep doing in the future.”