Kelsie Whitmore made history in the Atlantic League

GASTONIA, NC — Kelsie Whitmore played left field and batted ninth for the Staten Island FerryHawks on Sunday, becoming the first woman to start a game in the Atlantic League and one of the first to do so in a major league-related league. .

Whitmore, 23, was in manager Edgardo Alfonzo’s starting lineup for the FerryHawks’ game against the Gastonia Honey Hunters.

Whitmore, a right-handed hitter, went 0-for-2. She struck out in her first at-bat, she was hit by a pitch in the second — she took first base after being hit in the arm by a breaking pitch — and she flied to right field on third down. she. She was then retired for a pinch hitter in a 10-5 loss.

Impeccable on the field, Whitmore caught a couple of fly balls his way.

Whitmore had previously come off the bench for Staten Island, making her debut April 21 in Charleston as a two-out pinch runner in the ninth inning.

Whitmore is a two-way player and has been working with pitching coach and former major leaguer Nelson Figueroa, but has yet to pitch in a game for Staten Island.

Whitmore, a former Cal State Fullerton varsity softball player, signed with Staten Island this month, one of several notable moments for women in baseball this season.

Last month, San Francisco Giants coach Alyssa Nakken filled in at the first base coaching box, becoming the first woman to coach on the field for a major league game. A few days before that, Rachel Balkovec won in her debut managing the Class A Low Tampa Tarpons in the New York Yankees system, becoming the first woman to manage a team affiliated with a Major League club. .

Whitmore pitched and played outfield for the US women’s baseball team from 2014 to 2019 and spent parts of two seasons with the Sonoma Stompers of the independent Pacific Association.

The Atlantic League teams are not affiliated with Major League Baseball, but the circuit is an associated league of MLB. It is a step forward in quality of the Pacific Association.

“I am grateful for all the opportunities that have been given to me,” Whitmore said before the season. “This one, by far, I’m looking forward to, because it’s the next level for me.”

At least two other women have played in an MLB-related league: Lee Anne Ketcham and Julie Croteau were on the Maui Stingrays in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League in 1994.

“My goal is to play baseball at the highest level,” Whitmore said. play at the highest level you could play at.

“Eventually, I want to play affiliate ball. I want to make this game my career, my life and just, you know, be a part of it as much as I can.”

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Kelsie Whitmore made history in the Atlantic League