As Major League Baseball spring training swung into action, I was intrigued with the news of four nascent college teams battling it out in a first-of-its-kind tournament in the Los Angeles area: the Women’s College Club Baseball Championship.
Maggie Gallagher, the coach for the undefeated University of Washington team, says the championship was great but the best moment came when her team first stepped onto the field.
“This fulfilled my dream, even though I wasn’t playing,” says Ms. Gallagher, who grew up playing baseball but had to switch to softball in college.
More girls and women are playing baseball these days. In fact, this spring a record eight women made the roster on men’s collegiate teams. The momentum is largely thanks to Baseball for All, an organization that has coached thousands of girls. Founder Justine Siegal wants to create college teams where athletes can just focus on the joy of the game without the burden of being an ambassador for their sex. The women’s tournament was a milestone step toward that goal.
One alum of Baseball for All is Sabrina Robinson, the founder and player-coach of the women’s baseball club at Montclair State University in New Jersey, which competed in the tournament.
“I just hope that this is the first steppingstone to women’s baseball becoming a respected sport and at least an NCAA sport in the near future,” says Ms. Robinson, who has played hardball since she was 5.
Judging by the bounce coming off the tournament, Ms. Robinson may soon get her wish. There are now about 12 new clubs across the country interested in fielding a women’s college baseball team.