“Anything you can do….”

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Five girls try their hands at baseball at Cross Keys

A winless season would be forgettable for most baseball players.

However, for five young ladies at Cross Keys High School, the 2017 baseball season won’t be one they will forget soon—although the team did not win a game or score a run. Sophomores Jessica Cotom, Soyalina ‘Lina’ Green and Nicole Herranz, and juniors Hannah Lutterloah and Vanesa Rubio were members of the Indians baseball team.

According to Georgia High School Association’s by-law 1.47(a), “girls may participate on boys’ teams when there is no girls’ team offered in that sport or activity by the school.” Cross Keys does not have a softball team, which allows girls, by law, to play baseball.

Cross Keys coach Mark Adams said having the girls on the team this season has been great.

“They’re not treated [differently] than other teammates, we don’t make exceptions for [them] [in] our routine,” Adams said. “They practice, play and prepare just like any other kid on our team. We don’t make a distinction between our young men and our young ladies, they’re just expected to be great teammates and they don’t let us down at all.”

Adams said the girls started showing interest in baseball after he announced to the wrestling team, which he also coaches, that he would be coaching baseball in the spring. After that announcement, one of his wrestler asked about playing baseball—that wrestler was Vanesa Rubio.

“She said, ‘Coach, is it ok if a girl plays baseball?’ and I said it is,” Adams said.

“Vanesa came, then she had a friend come along, then another friend…we ended up having five girls. Each one of them has been a unique asset in their own way.”

Rubio, who also runs cross country and track, said baseball attracted her because it was something new to her.

“I wanted to try something new because normally I would do another sport and I was like I’ll try something new,” Rubio said.

Green, who plays short stop, wanted to try something new as well.

“I never played baseball before but I felt like trying something new would be good,” Green said. “[The experience] was good. I feel like I improved since my first day.”

Lutterloah is no stranger to the outfield or playing boys. She played softball for three years while living in Augusta. She joined the baseball team because one of her male friends is on the team. For Lutterloah, she didn’t see much difference between playing baseball and softball.

“As an outfielder, I didn’t see a difference in playing the same position in baseball,” she said.

Adams said the girls each have their own strength, athletically and mentally, that they brought to the team.

“We have girls that can field and that’s their strength, we have girls that are great outfielders, girls that are great infielders, some of them have strengths at the plate and for some its’s the team spirit,” Adams said. “Our girls have been—more so than the boys—indestructible inside in regard to our struggle to win, and it helps a lot to have their positive outlook. It’s really been a positive for our team.”

Despite the losing season, the girls said they each learned a lot about baseball and improved each game. They also said they will continue to practice during the offseason to get better and prepare for the 2018 season.

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