I have a great deal of affection for Minor League Baseball. MiLB ballparks provide one of the few family friendly sporting outings in the country. Growing up in the Northeast, I was able to attend a handful of Pawtucket Red Sox games. McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, wasn’t the place I could wantonly wear Yankee gear to the park. However, I was fortunate enough to get a look at rising stars and even a few legends on rehab assignment. One of the best nights to go to a PawSox game was on holiday weekends to take in fireworks, affordable eats and a view of the game I love.
This Independence day weekend, 17-year-old outfielder-Kelsie Whitmore and 25-year-old pitcher-Stacey Piagno wrote a little history of their own. Both took the field with Minor League Baseball team Sonoma Stompers against the San Rafael Pacifics.
Piagno went three innings with Whitmore making it on base with a walk. Eventually, the Pacifics out slugged the Stompers 8-4 sealing the game on a double play. Even if the two don’t earn permanent roster spots, they’ll be playing for Team USA in the Women’s Baseball World Cup later this year.
My granddaddy had this saying, “Sometimes you win for losing.” Always on hand with a sports metaphor, he gave me a lifetime worth of examples of how a score may not tell the complete story of a game.
Piagno and Whitmore join a short, yet growing list of women who have played alongside men in baseball. In the 1950s, Toni “Tomboy” Stone, Mamie”Peanut” Johnson and Constance “Connie” Morgan were the first women to play in the Negro Leagues. In 1997, Ila Borders became the first woman to pitch in a minor league game. In 2013, Mo’ne Davis’ breakthrough performance as the first girl to win, and pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series, also made her the first African American Girl to play in the tournament.
On paper the game ended in defeat for the Stompers. In the eyes of history, this was another win for women in sports.