There is another form of baseball in the Bay Area.
For girls (women) too. No, not as fans or ball girls, as players.
Two teams in Northern California are called the San Jose Spitfires, and the Fillies from San Francisco.
The Alameda Oaks, and the Peninsula Poppers are also teams listed but are without a completed roster according to the website.
In northern California every Sunday morning, a mixture of highly-skilled, well-coordinated women and girl baseball players take the field at Skyline College.
Officially, there is a set schedule and website that boasts a league with standings and rosters.
In Southern California the Harbor Hearts, Long Beach Bombers, and San Diego Legends all have complete rosters and comprise the California Women’s Baseball league.
The Bay Area teams’ rosters seem to be incomplete and on game day, at times, need to have makeshift lineups derived from girls that have traveled from other parts of northern California to competitively participate in America’s pastime.
The girls that do show up for the games at Skyline College, in San Mateo, are as skilled as any boy baseball team in the area.
The pitching, from a regulation mound, 60 feet 6 inches, is impressive.
For obvious reasons, the control is more remarkable than the velocity but the pink-shirted umpires call the games with a uniformed strike zone and honor the game originally invented by Abner Doubleday for boys.
The Spitfires players’ ages range from 14+ and are from all walks of life including bartenders, business owners, and corporate professionals. Some have prior experience, others not quite so obvious.
Batting averages and ERAs are deceptive when you consider the amount of statistical data available due to the lack of an official scorebook with no-shows and game day lineup changes.
In trying to contact Melanie Laspina, Commissioner of the CWBL, directly for an interview, I was steered to the website for info on the Northern California League.
A few of the players were helpful in gathering information and contacted me, by request, via email.
Debi ”Prince” Prince has been playing baseball for 20 years, mostly on boys teams.
A three-sport high school athlete that included soccer and volleyball, she was relegated to playing travel softball during her formative years and now welcomes the opportunity to continue to participate in an organized Women’s Baseball League.
AJ Antoni, the catcher for the Spitfires on a regular basis, takes the game as seriously as her skill level, which is impressive.
Normally securing the catching duties, Adrienne (AJ), also plays outfield and, as it seems, anywhere they might need a position player; a testament to her ability as an all-round athlete.
Others that participate have Olympic tryout, international softball, college softball, and baseball experience that rounds up the 9-women squads.
The website boasts two other teams without any listed players on the rosters. So I am not sure if they actually exist, or are slated for future expansion.
If girls are interested, participating Bay Area teams have roster spots and are anxious to add players.
Games are on Sundays with limited travel.
You won’t be disappointed in the caliber of play if the nucleus of the girls, that are committed, show up.
The mission statement from the website reads;
”To make the game of baseball as accessible to girls and women as it is to boys and men. In doing so, we strive to be role models to young players while providing our current players with a well organized and professional playing atmosphere within which players can participate competitively.”
It’s better than watching softball with a need for a more serious commitment from girls in the Bay Area.
The San Jose Spitfire team has the initial ground work in place, a professional playing atmosphere, role models, and a field to play on every Sunday.
It would be great if there was a better sense of commitment and continuity in the organizational landscape to bring together a cohesive group that, dare I say, people could actually root for on a weekly basis.
If you are interested in participating or for more information:
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