Teenage pitching sensation honoured as Niagara Falls ballpark installs plaque for her


Published June 5, 2023 at 11:21 am

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and Councillor Mike Strange flank baseball sensation Jaida Lee who be honoured with a plaque at Qakes Park in Niagara Falls on Saturday. (Photos: Twitter)

On June 3, Jaida Lee returned to Oakes Park in Niagara Falls, wearing her all-too-familiar Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games jacket.

To recap, Lee became the first ever female pitcher on a men’s baseball team at the Games as she hit the mound for the Labrador-Newfoundland team and watching her games at the ballpark, Niagara Falls Councillor Mike Strange was so struck by the 16-year-old’s performance that he wanted her honoured there.

Both Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and Strange were on hand as Lee returned to Oakes Park to witness the unveiling of a plaque in her honour attached to the park’s grandstand. In fact, playing catcher at the honourary pitch, Diodati just barely snagged an outside fastball from Lee that looked to be at least 80 mph.

“This morning’s special event to unveil a plaque on the grandstand at Oakes Park in honour of Jaida Lee was an absolute ball,” said Diodati after the unveiling. “When Jaida played her games at Niagara Falls’ Oakes Park last summer, she attracted an audience of supporters and fans.”

That said, it was Strange’s motion to honour her in March that got the baseball rolling.

Strange’s motion called for “a plaque be installed on the Grandstand at Oakes Park and that Jaida Lee be invited to throw the first pitch at an appropriate game or tournament.”

Beth Angle, the city’s Manager of Recreation and Programs, absolutely agreed.

“Due to Jaida’s significant achievement and ability to inspire and encourage other young players, the Recreation Committee recommends that a plaque be installed in recognition of Jaida Lee at Oakes Park and unveiled at a future date.”

Lee gained such notoriety during the Games that the Toronto Blue Jays asked her to throw the ceremonial first pitch at an August home game.

The plague unveiling, right, was the highlight of Jaida Lee’s return to Oakes Park in Niagara Falls where the 16-year-old became the first ever woman on a Canada Summer Games baseball team. The event also featured Jaida Lee baseball cards.

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