Springfield hosts all-women's game
Baseball game is made up of college-eligible women players
"Baseball is a game for all, and over 250,000 girls play the game through their early teens in the United States alone," said game organizer Justine Siegal, who serves as associate head coach at Springfield College, the only female coach in collegiate baseball. "We think this game will serve as a small sample that if given the opportunity, many young women would continue playing recreationally and competitively in high school and as adults, not just in the United States but around the world."
Currently many high school federations do not allow girls to participate in baseball, and the NCAA offers no intercollegiate program for women in baseball. Conversely in Japan, baseball for girls and women is offered at the high school and collegiate level, and the game has seen a dramatic rise, with Japan taking the 2008 Women's World Cup.
Dubbed "The Friendship Game," over 25 players from at least 12 New England colleges...Salem State College, Stonehill, Bates, MIT, Central Connecticut State University, Boston University, Tufts, Brown, Daniel Webster, University of Massachusetts, the University of New Haven and Springfield College...will be participating. The game will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will be played on a regulation diamond, follow all NCAA baseball rules, and last seven innings.
Those participants include Karen Costes, who played for Team USA in 2008 and Christal Fitzgerald, an Australian who was the first international female to play college baseball in the US and is currently the only woman playing college baseball, now in her third season at Daniel Webster College. Several other players currently play in the North American Women's Baseball League based out of Lynn, MA which attracts players both nationally and internationally.
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) recently announced that women's baseball would be added to their bid for re-instatement to the Olympic programme for 2016, also adding to the potential of growing the potential for baseball for girls and women. In addition to those playing in the United States, over 30 nations around the world offer some level of baseball for women, including nations in Asia, Oceania, Africa, North, South and Central America and parts of Europe. The number of girls and women playing baseball at some level globally is thought to be close to 500,000, with interest growing every year.