A pair of local 13-year-old girls, Christina Noonan and Katrina Calero, enjoyed playing their favorite sport as they wrapped up their 2019 season recently. The only unusual thing about these two athletes is that they are on a girls baseball team. Not softball, but hardball baseball.
The East Bay Oaks players traveled with their 13U team to the Baseball For All National Tournament in Rockford, Ill last month. The Oaks, the first girls baseball team in the East Bay, went all the way to the championship game before losing for the first time in the tournament to the Boston Slammers.
The two local middle school girls—Noonan goes to Oak Grove in Concord and Calero to Diablo View in Clayton—continue to work on their baseball skills. Their team plays on a field with 70-foot bases and 50-foot pitcher’s mound.
Righthander Noonan pitches and plays all the infield positions except first base. At the Nationals and the Tamara Holmes Series regionals earlier this summer that her East Bay Oaks Girls Baseball Club hosted, she batted .458, scored 11 runs and knocked in eight. She also won three games on the mound while racking up 19 strikeouts.
Outfielder Calero had a .421 OBP in the two tournaments.
Baseball For All estimates that 100,000 girls play baseball in youth leagues, but the number dwindles to less than 2,000 by the time they reach high school because most are pushed into fastpitch softball. Over a half million boys play high school baseball.
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Noonan says when she goes to high school she is going to try out for the baseball team, which is typically all-male.
Fittingly, the Baseball For All Nationals were held in the city famous for the Rockford Peaches, the team immortalized in the movie “A League of Their Own.” BFA founder Justin Siegal says, “If you tell a girl she can’t play baseball because she’s a girl, what else will she believe she can’t do?”