Spain: Girls relish first national baseball tournament in Florida

From Sarah Spain at espnW on June 7, 2015, with mention of SABR member Justine Siegal:

“The girls here have good sportsmanship,” Grace DeVinney said as she plopped down on a wooden picnic bench, happy to steal a few minutes in the shade. “Better than boys.”

In about 90 minutes, DeVinney’s team, the Central Florida Rays, would face the Carolina Terminators in the championship game of the first all-girls national baseball tournament.

DeVinney, an 11-year-old from Longwood, Florida, is tall with big eyes and thick, shaggy hair that she refuses to pull back in a ponytail or tuck behind her ears. She has an easy way of carrying herself and a throwback vibe, like someone plucked her right off the set of “The Bad News Bears.”

Like nearly all the players at the tournament held at the Fortune Road Sports Complex, she is the only girl on her hometown baseball team. This week, she finally got a chance to play with and against other girls.

“When the girls lose, they don’t disrespect each other,” she said. “We don’t stomp, and we don’t let losing get to us. We’re just more competitive than the boys. When we lose, we get more pumped up and keep going at it.”

DeVinney knows a thing or two about watching boys lose. In May, she was part of an all-girls Baseball For All team that made headlines by winning a USSSA Tournament against all-boys teams in southern California.

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Originally published: June 9, 2015. Last Updated: June 9, 2015.