GASTONIA (N.C.) — Kelsie Whitmore was in left field and batted ninth Sunday for the Staten Island FerryHawks. She became the first woman to open a game in the Atlantic League, and the first in a league that is connected to Major League Baseball.
Whitmore, 23, was part of Edgardo Alfonzo’s roster for the FerryHawks’ game at Gastonia Honey Hunters.
Whitmore, who is a right-handed batter, struck out her first at-bat. In the second, she was struck by a pitch. She hustled towards first base after being struck in arm by breaking pitch.
Whitmore was previously a Staten Island bench player. She made her Charleston debut as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning.
Whitmore is a two way player. She has been working with Nelson Figueroa (pitching coach) but she has yet to pitch for Staten Island.
Whitmore, a former college softball player at Cal State Fullerton signed with Staten Island in October, which is one of many notable moments for women baseball players this season.
Last month San Francisco GiantsAlyssa Nakhen, coach at first base, was appointed to fill in for Rachel Balkovec. She became the first woman coach on the field of a major league baseball game. Rachel Balkovec, who was managing the Low-A Tampa Tarpons just a few days earlier, won her debut in management. New York Yankees‘ system, becoming first woman to lead a major league team.
Whitmore played outfield in the U.S. women’s baseball team's outfield from 2014-19. She also spent part of two seasons with Sonoma Stompers, an independent Pacific Association organization.
The Atlantic League teams are not affiliated with big leagues. However, the circuit is a MLB partner league. It's a step above the Pacific Association.
Whitmore stated that he was grateful for all the opportunities he's been given. “This one is by far the most exciting, because it's the next level for me.
At least two other women played in a league connected to MLB: Lee Anne Ketcham (Maui Stingrays) and Julie Croteau (Hawai Winter Baseball League).
Whitmore said, “Playing at the highest level of baseball is my goal.” “It's not hard to understand why Whitmore said that his goal was to play at the highest level possible.
“Eventually, my goal is to play in affiliated basketball. I want this to be my career, my livelihood, and I just want to be a part as much as possible.