Two London area girls are way under the U16 limit for national baseball tournament

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The bulk of the players who make it to the Baseball Canada 16-and-under girls invitational national championships are at least 15 years old.

Londoner Neela Chanderdat is 13. Dorchester’s Julia Konigshofer is just 11.

So it will be a pretty special moment — and provide a spotlight on the sport’s future — when they hit the field for Ontario Aug. 17-20 in Vaughan.

“It means a lot to me to represent my province in this big tournament,” said Chanderdat, who will be heading into Grade 8 at Byron Northview in the fall. “I’m happy to play with a bunch of great players in one place. I want to help them win this (event) and I know I’ll learn a lot from both the coaches and players.”

Both girls play baseball alongside boys. Chanderdat patrols second base and pitches for Mike Lumley’s Badgers major pee wee team while Konigshofer handles third base and works the mound for the minor pee wee Dorchester Diamondbacks, coached by her dad Mike, a former standout high school javelin thrower.

Julia Konigshofer also plays for a girls travel team based out of Miami at the 11-and-under age division.

Chanderdat’s father Roop is co-owner and manager of the Intercounty Baseball League’s London Majors.

“Both my parents have really helped me out,” Neela Chanderdat said. “My mom drives me everywhere and my dad has taught me a lot, rolling me ground balls in the basement (for a long time).”

If they can continue to develop, they will become mainstays of the Ontario program. Chanderdat is eligible to play for the Ontario team for four more years, and Konigshofer has five more years of eligibility.

The host province starts in a pool next month with Alberta, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

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