JASTONIA, NC – Kelsey Whitmore played left field and finished ninth at the Staten Island Ferryhawk on Sunday, becoming the first woman to start an Atlantic League game and one of the first to do so in a major league-related league.
Whitmore, 23, was in Manager Edgardo Alfonso’s starting lineup for the FerryHawks game against Gastonia Honey Hunters.
Whitmore, the right hitter, went 0 for 2. She hit on her first hit, hit a hitter on the second—she grabbed first base after being hit in the arm with a break on the field—and headed into right field on her third down. Then I retired due to beating in a 10-5 loss.
Flawless on the field, Whitmore caught a few fly balls on his way.
Whitmore had previously come off the bench on Staten Island, making her April 21 debut in Charleston as a ninth inning sprinter.
Whitmore is a two-way player and has been with shooting coach and former player Nelson Figueroa, but has yet to play in a game on Staten Island.
Whitmore, a former softball player at Fullerton University in California, signed with Staten Island this month, one of several notable moments for women in baseball this season.
Last month, San Francisco Giants coach Alyssa Naken took over as the head coach at first base, becoming the first woman to train on the field in a major league game. A few days earlier, Rachel Balkovich had won her first management debut as a Class A Low Tampa Tarpons in the New York Yankees system, becoming the first woman to manage a major league club’s team.
Whitmore played on the field and played for the U.S. women’s baseball team from 2014 to 2019 and spent parts of two seasons with the Pacific Independent League’s Sonoma Stompers.
The Atlantic League teams are not affiliated with Major League Baseball, but the Arena is associated with the MLB League. It is a step forward in pacific lac quality.
“I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had,” Whitmore said before the season. “This is, by far, what I look forward to, because it’s the next level for me.”
At least two other women have played in an MLB-related league: Lee Ann Ketcham and Julie Croteau were on the Maui Stingrays in the Hawaiian Winter Baseball League in 1994.
“My goal is to play baseball at the highest level,” Whitmore said. You play at the highest level you can play.
“Ultimately, I want to play affiliate ball. I want to make this game my career and my life and just, you know, be a part of it as much as I can.”
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