The all-girls San Diego Mustangs under-12 baseball team recently returned from a tournament in Aberdeen, Maryland, after finishing second place in a tournament held by Baseball for All.
The Mustangs lost to the Chicago Scouts in the championship round of the five-day event, which was held at The Ripken Experience. More than 500 girls ages 8 to 19 played on teams in the various age groups.
It was the first time many of the Mustangs players saw so many other girls playing baseball in one place.
“When I played with the boys, I was the only girl on the team,” said Elsa Becher, 12, a student at Parkway Middle School in La Mesa who plays second base and pitcher. “It was exciting to see all the other girls who play baseball.”
Baseball for All was founded by Justine Siegal, whose youth coaches tried encouraging her to play softball instead of baseball. Intent on a baseball career, she went on to become the first female coach hired by a Major League Baseball team, among other distinctions.
“Our organization isn’t just about girls playing baseball—it’s addressing the larger issue of gender equity in the game,” Siegal said in a statement. “To this day, too many girls are told they shouldn’t (or can’t) play baseball because they’re girls. When they come to BFA Nationals, many of them realize for the first time that they’re not alone and, more importantly, that they belong in baseball.”
Several Mustangs players have similar goals to blaze a trail as they continue their baseball careers.
“I want to try to play for as long as I can,” said Izzie Dieter, 10, who goes to Ashley Falls School and plays Del Mar Little League. “I want to try to play in high school, maybe try to get into college and I want to try to play in the MLB one day.”
Ellie Seda, 11, who lives in Escondido and plays pitcher and left field, said the tournament in Maryland “was a really good experience.”
“Getting to play with other girls was amazing because I didn’t know that many girls played baseball,” Ellie said. “Baseball is hard and the boys are always like, girls can’t play baseball. They always doubt you. But it was nice to see that there were still girls who kept trying and made it there and were so good.”
She added, “We can show people that girls can do the same things boys can do.”