In 2020, we welcomed our first-ever team of BFA Junior Captains: 15 middle school and junior-high aged girls in baseball committed to growing the game in their own communities. This team represented 12 states and nine Baseball For All teams, including the Boston Slammers, DC Force, East Bay Oaks, Florida Bolts, Humboldt Park Gators, New York Wonders, San Francisco Bay Sox, Quebec Troublemakers, and the Upstate Boomers.
Despite the pandemic, these young leaders quickly pivoted to adapt. Each BFA Junior Captain concepted, executed, and presented their projects to help inspire and motivate other girls in baseball around the country. Here’s a quick look at each of their projects and what they each accomplished as a BFA Junior Captain this year.
Havana Mia Alcantar, San Francisco Bay Sox
“This project is a video series of at-home workout circuits and baseball drills for girls baseball players ages 8–13.
“I chose this project because the Bay Sox spring and summer seasons were cancelled, and I wanted to help the younger players get in shape because of COVID. I wanted to make it so that workouts could be more accessible because I know it’s very hard for people to have the right resources to be able to practice during COVID. I wanted to share the baseball knowledge I got from my coaches, and wanted to help the players on my team and be a mentor and leader for other girls.”
Yasmeen Aubrey, Boston Slammers
“Originally, I was going to do a clinic for girls 10 and under, but I couldn’t do that due to certain restrictions…so, for my project, I made a video called ‘5 Ways to Get Ready for the Baseball Season at Home.’ It covers some fielding fundamentals and drills, hitting and pitching drills, and other exercises.”
Diya Buonincontro, Humboldt Park Gators
“My project was mostly aimed about spreading awareness [of girls in baseball] online because everyone’s online. So, I made an Instagram account: @girlsbaseball41 .”
Nadia Chernich, New York Wonders
Kennedi Cotter, New York Wonders
“I created a children’s book because books are powerful tools for teaching children…and inspire us to accomplish our dreams. The title is “The Game of Baseball Through a Little Girl’s Eyes.
“My future plans [with this book] are to donate some copies to schools in my local school district.”
Sarah Domin, Upstate Boomers
“My [Baseball For All Junior Captains] project was a baseball fun day. I had girls [ages 6-12] from all around Upstate New York and had them out to try baseball for their first and second time. I had six stations…and we had the Syracuse Mets mascot come out and high five the girls at the end.”
Maggie Foxx, Boston Slammers
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“My project is taking over New England Girls Baseball (NEGB) to teach girls how to play and become the best ballplayer they can be, on and off the field. We’re doing clinics, virtual meetings, and the Instagram account is already up and running (@negirlsbaseball)
“I learned how to help develop girls’ baseball through running clinics. In New Hampshire, most girls playing [baseball] have been very lucky to not experience the ‘you should switch to softball’ as some other girls in other towns, states, and countries have experienced. This was one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done in baseball, and I will continue to grow NEGB and help these girls grow the game as well.”
Audrey-Anne Abigail Palao Garcia, Quebec Troublemakers
Maggie Heaphy, DC Force
“As a part of my Baseball for All Junior Captains Project, I decided to create The Leadoff Initiative, a website and resource page aimed towards girls who love the great game of baseball. The biggest issue for me growing up in the sport was that I never really had anyone to go through it all with, and so I hope that I can offer a bit of wisdom, companionship, and support through your darkest as well as your brightest moments [in baseball].
“Our initial objective is to raise money and materials for those who need it, with our Scholarship Campaign. By distributing gift cards and/or equipment itself to them, we hope to make the game available to everyone who loves it, regardless of their gender and the resources they have.”
Meredith Kenny, Florida Bolts
“For my BFA project, I wanted to create a newsletter that included the past, present, and future of girls baseball. I chose this project because I wanted to write about how baseball for girls started, all the way to the future. I added my experience so people could understand my point of view.
“I wanted to show that yes, that girls have a future in baseball, and yes, they know what to do to get there.”
Christina Noonan, East Bay Oaks
“I wanted my project to be centered around young girls getting opportunities with other girls. I joined BFA when I was 10, and before that, I didn’t know that girls baseball was such a thing. I wanted younger girls to know that there are more girls that play baseball.
“I decided to try and recruit girls to my BFA team, the East Bay Oaks. With the help of my dad, I reached out to Little League presidents across the county and got emails of the parents of girls who play baseball. I emailed them, and told them my story, and how I wanted want to help their daughter understand that she’s not alone.”
Kaylee Rivera, Boston Slammers
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“My goal was to help grow the game of girls baseball. I wanted to put out several clinics for [girls] ages 10 and under. Due to COVID, I was only able to do one. The hope is to grow and do more in the future.
“I really liked sharing my knowledge of the game with younger girls and can’t wait to do more.”
Alice Stillerman, DC Force
“For my Baseball For All Junior Captains Project, I wanted to focus on younger girls in baseball. So I decided to lead a series of virtual clinics for younger girls who just started baseball. I thought this would be a great way for them to meet other girls who also play baseball, as well as practice and learn new baseball skills.
“I decided to run 3 clinics, with each clinic focusing on one aspect of baseball. The first one focused on fielding, the second highlighted hitting, and the third introduced pitching and catching.
“I learned how to develop a practice plan and execute it. I also realized that sometimes you have to explain drills multiple ways because everyone’s brain works differently. These clinics also really inspired me to keep coaching and I’m about to start helping with another set of girls baseball clinics this fall.”
Ella Grace Taitingfong, Hawaii
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“When we were first selected as Junior Captains, I wanted to do clinics…for girls who are interested in baseball. But when COVID happened, [I had to shift to] one of my other ideas. It was to create a social group to do teammate things and hangout, since when you play with the boys, there are certain bonding things we do with them. And with that idea, I came up with ‘Diamond Diaries.’
Diamond Diaries is an Instagram series of videos that focus on drills, strength and conditioning, and speed and agility.”
Kate Weller, LA Monarchs
“[Through creating a girls baseball Instagram account and this trailer to get girls hyped up for next baseball season], I learned a lot about leadership and how to communicate.”