Baseball holds a special place in the hearts of most American sports fans. We affectionately dub its players the boys of summer, but something happened late last month that just might have proven that baseball is no longer a strictly male domain.
Enter Baseball for All, a 10U Girls baseball team that competed in the Memorial Day USSSA NIT in Los Angeles, where it not only held its own against a field comprised entirely of boys teams, but won the tournament championship.
Coach Justine Siegal said the team draws players from eight different states and said that the tournament itself was pretty grueling, but added the girls conducted themselves well.
“They played seven games in three days, and the girls won the whole thing,” Siegal said. “That means they’re really, really good. They’re also the cutest team I’ve ever seen.”
Siegal said one of the great things for her to see was the way that her team began winning over fans at the tournament through their hard work and determination.
“We were in the lowest bracket Monday morning, and we had to beat the No. 1 team from Las Vegas,” Siegal said. “We came back in the last inning to win.”
Flower Mound’s Addison McGowan was one of the girls that played for Baseball for All, and Siegal said she definitely did her part to help the team win.
“Addison played a solid center field for us and is a very good pitcher,” Siegal said. “She throws fast. She is a natural leader and a great teammate.”
Siegal said she did not set up her team to be made up of just female players, but that it worked out that way, and said she likes the message the tournament victory sends.
“We allow boys in all of our programs, but no boys applied to this team,” Siegal said. “For girls to meet other girls who love baseball as much as they do is a magical opportunity. This team was less about ‘can we beat the boys’ as it was about giving girls the chance to play baseball with other girls at a travel ball level.
“But it is fun when we beat the boys because it smashes stereotypes and shows boys…and the girls…what is possible. I say when a girl strikes out a boy, she just made him a better father. Now he knows what girls are capable of.”
Siegal said she hopes the girls take away a couple of things from their tournament win.
“I want the girls to know that their dreams are important too,” Siegal said. “That they don’t have to quit baseball and play softball just because they are girls. After all, if you tell a girl she can’t play baseball, what else will she believe she can’t do?”