Gearing up for a league of their own: Team USA’s women’s baseball players prepare for World Cup The women of the U.S. national baseball team come prepared with explanations and clarifications to educate the people they run into. Yes, women play baseball at the highest international level.
Photo Courtesy: www.unrinsight.com - Lilly Jacobson inspired her mother to write the book Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Ring
The women of the U.S. national baseball team come prepared with explanations and clarifications to educate the people they run into.
Yes, women play baseball at the highest international level.
No, they don’t want to play softball instead — they’re baseball players.
And yes, there are more and more women and girls around the world playing baseball.
“You do sometimes laugh a little, because people seem to be continually amazed that I play baseball, but it’s true,” national team outfielder Lilly Jacobson, 22, said. “It’s like it never occurred to them that women play baseball.
“We have an amazingly talented and passionate group of players on the national team. We’re women who love baseball and are really proud to represent our country. We just wish more people knew about what we are doing.”
Team USA is currently under construction, with the roster for the 2010 World Cup being developed following six regional tryouts held across the country. The final roster will be announced Aug. 5, followed by a quick training camp in Cary, N.C. Ultimately, 18 players will be named to the team.
Eleven players from the 2008 Women's National Team return for the 2010 trials, including Marti Sementelli, Lilly Jacobson and Malaika Underwood who were named to the 2008 All-World Cup Team in Matsuyama, Japan. In addition, Olympic gold medalist softball player Laura Espinoza is also among those who will be vying for a spot on the baseball squad.
The team will compete in the International Baseball Federation’s Women’s World Cup (weblink: http://www.fevebaseball.com/index.php?p=custom10 ), in the Venezuelan cities of Araure, Barinas, San Felipe and Guanare from Aug. 12-22. Twelve countries will compete for the biggest title in women’s baseball.
In 2008, Team USA took the bronze. Japan, the host country, won gold, and Canada was second. The U.S. won gold in 2004 and 2006.
Team USA tryouts were held across the country, in six locations, over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Everybody fights for a roster spot: from veterans who have made every World Cup roster since the tournament’s inception in 2004 to fresh-faced rookies.
Ashley Bratcher, Team USA’s general manager, is excited by the challenging tryout process.
“(It’s) seeing old faces come back better and ready for a new challenge and seeing new faces added to the mix,” Bratcher said. “There is some good competition and it is only going to make everyone, and the team as a whole, better.”
Veteran utility player Sarah Gascon, a member of Team USA for the past three World Cups, hopes this team will jell quickly.
“I wish we had more time together, as you see other countries will be spending the entire summer together working out,” said Gascon, a native Californian who also is part of USA Handball’s national program. “The good thing is, we’re all like a family. When we get together, it’s like