Eleven girl baseball players from eight different states met last weekend for the first time, with one mission: beat the boys. After seven rounds and a championship game, they did just that.
Part of the organization Baseball for All, the group of girl players ages 9 to 10, were assembled as a team... with the intention of showing that they can play the sport as hard as boys. They played in a tournament in Chino Hills, CA organized by Justine Siegel, the first woman ever to pitch to MLB teams in batting practice, who is also an ambassador for the USA Baseball Olympic Committee and a professional scout.
Though the girls had never met, they quickly put their skills to the test, and ended up winning the entire event, beating five all-boy teams. Grace Devinney, a 10-year-old from Orlando, FL, was one of the girls on the team, and said it was an incredible experience.
“We were really nervous, but as soon as we started getting used to everybody, we started getting on a roll,” she tells Ellen’s Good News. “We lost the first two games on the first day of the tournament… we were really mad. We started to get frustrated, and then we tried to hold it together. We went out there the next day, did our best and brought our A game.”
After that, the team outscored their opponents by a long shot, and took home the trophy. Grace began playing baseball two years ago when her younger brother got into the sport, and incidentally, she was the only girl on an all-boy team.
She says she likes baseball because it’s aggressive, and makes you a tougher player.
“Usually, when you play baseball, the boys think they’re going to beat you because you’re a girl, and usually they’re wrong,” Grace comments.
Her father, Josh, says Baseball for All is opening a door for girls that has previously been closed.
“It lets girls know that baseball is an option,” he explains. “They’re told from a young age that once they get to a certain age, they have to play softball… that’s what everyone thinks is normal, but some girls don’t want to play softball. Grace never liked it, she didn’t like the chanting, didn’t like the ribbons, the bows, it was too slow. She likes the faster game.”
She’s good at it, too. In fact, Grace aims to be the first female to play in the majors, and she’s ready to break down barriers all the way to the top.
“Girls should be able to play boys’ sports even if they are boy dominated,” she insists. “Most boys think girls can’t make it, but a lot of girls have the potential and ability to play boys’ sports like football, baseball and hockey.”
The fifth-grader adds that, in addition to Siegel, she’s inspired by Jackie Robinson.
“He was the first African-American baseball player, and girls could be another first ever,” Grace says. “It’s pretty much about breaking the rules.”