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Elephant Rumblings: Kelsie Whitmore breaks further ground Pitching in MLB partnered Atlantic League

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Syndication: Gaston Gazette Joe Hughes / USA TODAY NETWORK

Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!

While the A’s haven’t been making much history by getting swept for an entire homestand, across the country there have been some barriers broken this season. Playing for the Staten Island FerryHawks, Kelsie Whitmore has been making a push for the presence of women in professional baseball.

In 2016 Whitmore, along with Stacy Piagno and Ann Kimbrell, signed with the Sonoma Stompers, then of the independent Pacific Association. They were the first women to play for a professional team since 1950, and formed the first female battery since the 50s as well. Last year, Whitmore joined the Portland Pickles of the collegiate-level West Coast League for a set of games in Mexico. Whitmore also has years of experience on the US women’s national baseball team, and has blown the lid off of D1 college softball for Cal State Fullerton.

This year Whitmore signed with the FerryHawks, who reside in the independent Atlantic League, which has a partnership with MLB despite not being directly affiliated with any major league clubs. That makes her the first woman to play for any MLB-associated team, and on top of it all, she’s a two-way player.

Kelsie debuted for Staten Island on April 22 as a pinch-runner, then made her first start for the club on Sunday in left field. Last night she made further history by taking the mound in the top of the 9th. After the FerryHawks pitchers loaded the bases giving up three walks and a run-scoring single, Whitmore was tapped to cut off the momentum. Kelsie got the last out on four pitches to end the inning, on a flyout by former MLB player Ryan Jackson.

We can hope to see lots more on the diamond from Whitmore throughout the season, and hopefully a future in affiliated ball soon. Kelsie is leading the way for more women to join pro baseball in the coming years, and it’s fantastic to see!

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