You may not have heard the name Leah ‘Ice Cold’ Cornish, but rest assured it isn’t due to her lack of achievement.
At only 15, the young baseball player has made a name for herself in the sport, claiming historical accomplishments thanks to her determination, focus and love of the game – most recently as tournament MVP at last weekend’s inaugural Barclay Cup on the Gold Coast.
Having recently won bronze with WA Heat in the Australian Women’s Baseball Championships, and played with the Brisbane Bandits as the youngest player in the Australian International Women’s Showcase, Leah’s team gold for WA at the Barclay Cup makes her the first female to complete the unofficial triple-crown of Australian women’s baseball.
It is impressive stuff.
Add her historical debut with the Women’s Super League (WSL) at only 13 and it may strike you as odd that this high-performance athlete, who earned her nickname from her cool demeanour on the field, is not more widely known.
“She’s a role model at 15. She can pitch, catch and plays third base, she can go anywhere, and she’s currently the best female batter in WA as well,” father Leon said, nodding to her second Baseball WA Best Batter award in as many years.
“She’s always played and trained against boys, and above her age group – she won the WA senior league championship with the Braves boy’s teams.”
Moving up from a young age through teeball at Huntingdale to baseball at Willetton, Leah found her home with the Braves, where older female players took her under their wing.
Softly-spoken and exuding quiet confidence, Leah can’t help but smile as she talks about the sport she is so passionate for.
“All my baseball career I’ve played with older people, I love it, being with the older girls,” Leah said.
“They are very female-oriented. Being around players like (former Australian player) Christina Kreppold and playing with her, learning from her, was a big eye-opener.
“At the WSL I was with (current Australian players) Kaila Borgomastro and Caitlin Eynon, I look up to them a lot.
“I love getting advice from a lot of different coaches and athletes, it gives you more of an open mind, the different plays you can do.
“When you learn and hear about a new thing, you want to do it, you want to get better, you want to try it.
“In baseball you have to have a short memory – if you mess up, OK I’m going to get the next one, I’m going to learn from it – you just need to keep going, keep pushing yourself until you eventually get it.
“I really just want to improve. The end goal is to make the Australian team and play for Australia, to do that I need a lot of improvement.”
It’s clear that, despite her success, Leah remains modest and eager to learn. And while her sights are set on lofty goals, she is just as keen to see others come up with her.
“I want to help the younger ones, I would love to coach some of them and help them push themselves, to enjoy baseball and to get better.
“Women’s baseball in WA is definitely getting bigger, a lot more girls are joining and improving, it’s really nice to see them getting involved.
“Get involved in the game. Try it out, if you like it, you can do it,” Leah said.
“Don’t be scared, don’t worry about what people think of you – that brought me down a bit – once you get past it – that’s when you get your drive, when you find your confidence and really succeed.”