De La Cretaz: Two all-girls baseball teams on what it takes to play a sport that has systematically shut them out

From Britni de la Cretaz at Lenny Letter on September 11, 2018:

The Boston Slammers’ own “Craig Kimbrel” — the Red Sox pitcher with a fastball that tops out at 101 miles per hour — stands on a pitcher’s mound in a local park. The player’s real name is Elise Berger, a stoic athlete with a long, lean build and a face dotted with freckles, the nickname born from a fastball of her own. Her team is playing in the Boston Mayor’s Cup, the biggest youth-baseball tournament in the city, and every one of her pitches blows by the South Boston team’s batters.

This is girls’ baseball. Yes, I said baseball. And the Mayor’s Cup is just practice for what the Slammers are really getting ready for: the annual Baseball for All (BFA) national tournament in Rockford, Illinois. The all-girls baseball tournament will feature 24 teams, comprised of 283 girls from as far away as Australia, Canada, and Alaska. Since 2015, a new generation of players has descended on the town, which was once home to the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Baseball League. (The Peaches were the inspiration for the movie A League of Their Own.) The league was the first and only women’s professional-baseball league in U.S. history; it existed from 1943 to 1954. The BFA tournament is this generation’s chance to make women’s-baseball history of their own.

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Originally published: September 14, 2018. Last Updated: September 14, 2018.