Tessa Hood heading to Cuba with junior girls national team program

Jason Malloy jmalloy@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 11, 2016

Tessa Hood will be patrolling the outfield next week in Cuba.

The 16-year-old Charlottetown native is heading to Havana from Feb. 14 to 21 as part of Baseball Canada's junior girls national team program.

"I'm kind of nervous," Hood said. "I haven't played ball for a bit, just kind of throwing the ball around, but I feel I'll do well when I get down there and once I get in the groove of ball."

She also takes comfort in the training she has received locally, including from the late Brian Lewis.

"He taught us all how to hit," said Hood, who has 11 siblings. "I think if I just put my mind to what he taught me . . . I can do pretty well."

Hood started out playing soccer, but left the pitch for the diamond when she was about nine years old.

"I got playing baseball with all my friends and never stopped," she said.

Last summer was a big season for Hood.

She went to Vaughan, Ont., for the bantam AAA nationals with her Charlottetown Royals. They finished third, winning Prince Edward Island's first medal at a national championship since 1977.

"There were some tears shed. Everyone was pretty happy," Hood recalled.

She also went to Saguenay, Que., for the girls' nationals with Newfoundland and Labrador. She wasn't sure how much she would play heading into the tournament.

"I started the first game . . . in right field," Hood said. "They saw me play and decided to put me in centrefield and then they moved me in to pitch against Alberta."

She played almost every inning during the tournament.

Hood, who was known as Tater to her new teammates, loved played with Newfoundland, and some of the players will be taking part on the Cuba trip.

"I miss them all,"said Hood, a Grade 10 student at Colonel Gray High School. "They were like a family."

There will be two teams of Canadians participating in Cuba. They will take part in competitions and training programs with the opportunity to learn about culture, history and people of Cuba. They will also get to meet, train and compete with Cuban student-athletes.