Like Marti Sementelli and Ghazaleh Sailors, my baseball career started around age five. However, my stint as a ball player ended around age five and a half, when I quickly figured out that my lack of hand-eye coordination along with my fear of a ball being thrown at me didn’t work well with the general idea of baseball.
But Sementelli and Sailors, now 18 and 17 respectively, are stand-outs in the game because of more than just good hand-eye coordination.
©John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News/Zumapress.com
On Saturday, March 5, Sementelli and Sailors and their Southern California teams made high school baseball history, marking the first time both teams in a varsity game featured starting female pitchers. Sementelli allowed only five hits, pitching a complete game and leading her Lake Balboa Birmingham teammates to a 6-1 victory over Sailors and the San Marcos High team. Sailors allowed 3 hits and 3 runs in the 3 ½ innings she pitched.
But both girls agree the game held more significance than the score.
“I think we have a really cool story – one a lot of girls don’t know about,” Sementelli tells ThePostGame. “It’s something me and Ghaz share. But we want to spread the word and get it out and get more girls playing.”
After meeting last summer while playing on the U.S. Women’s National Baseball Team –- Yes, there is a national women’s team and they won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Cup in Venezuela -- Sementelli and Sailors say they came up with the idea to have their high school teams face off.
“Softball?” you say. Not for these girls. Baseball has been in their blood since the beginning -- Sementelli doing drills with her dad and playing alongside 7- and 8-year-old-boys at age 5, Sailors filling in on her older brother’s T-ball team.
Sementelli has had previous recognition for her impressive arm, appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel Show at age 10 and starring in a Nike ad at 14 that also feature famous female athletes like Mia Hamm and Picabo Street.
Sailors says people haven’t always been so accepting.
“There was some abuse, some cyber bullying,” she says, remembering old teammates. “I had a rough time until last season."
“I always had people telling me that I need to switch to softball," Sailors continues. "Always had people telling me I could play in Little League but not in high school. Then I made the freshman team and they said I couldn’t make J.V. Then I made J.V. and they said I couldn’t make varsity. It pushed me. It made me want to break those barriers.”
Sailors didn’t stop making history after Saturday’s game. She recently signed with the Yorkton Cardinals, becoming the first female player in Western Major Baseball League history.
Sementelli and Sailors are two of the thousand or so girls that played high school baseball last year. And with dreams of playing on college and professional teams, these girls don’t plan on stopping there.
“We’ll always be teammates in the greater sense of things,” Sailors said.
Sementelli and Sailors show that they don’t need a league of their own to show off their skills.
Don’t you wish you threw like one of these girls?
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