Maya Z. (’17) sits on the gym deck, fending her friends – a large majority of whom are on the baseball team – away from her lunch. She answers my questions with ease, casually batting an oncoming hand away from her lunchbox as if rehearsed. Since her freshman year, Maya has been playing on College Prep’s baseball team and is one of the select few female baseball players in the league.
“How long have you been playing baseball?” I ask. “Well, the season started like three days ago,” Maya jokes. The group chuckles and Maya continues, “No, since like – when does T-ball start? Since then.” Maya tells me that she began playing baseball since the age of 5 because the sport has always been a big part of her family’s life. She drew inspiration from her older brother, who was an avid and enthusiastic player. “I grew up with baseball all around me,” she says. “We always went to Giant’s games.” After I ask her about it, she reveals that she’s a big Giant’s fan because her father grew up in the area. “Brandon Crawford is definitely one of my favorites,” she adds, noting his skill and consistency as an athlete.
After I prompt her about her experience being on an all male team, Maya offers that “the team has been supportive” of her throughout the process. She adds that she’s made a lot of friends through baseball and it feels like a community. For the most part she hasn’t “faced any stigma as a female baseball player” but relays an anecdote about once meeting a legendary high school player from the Bay Area. “He came up to me and he was like, ‘you’re a girl’ and I replied, ‘yes.’” Maya trails off. “Yeah, that’s it, that’s the entire story.” David Barer (’17) , a teammate sitting by her, extrapolates further, “a lot of people seem like they’re very accepting of Maya playing baseball,” he says, “but they still tend to take note of the fact that she’s a girl.” Maya nods in agreement, stating that although she’s had a good experience in baseball, being a girl in the sport hasn’t been fully normalized yet.
Nevertheless, Maya recently tried out for an elite all girls’ baseball team and secured a spot. The team will be competing against other global teams in the upcoming months. “Yeah, I’m also going to try out for the national team in North Carolina over the summer,” Maya mentions nonchalantly. Vaguely in awe, I ask, “any advice on how to be as cool as you?” Maya doesn’t seem to know how to answer.
Looking back on Maya’s accomplishments as a girl in baseball, we can tell she’ll go far in the sport. Wish Maya good luck on her future baseball endeavors!