The Best Little League pitcher in America?
Local 13-year-old girl to appear on ESPN tonight
A Plant City teenager Chelsea Baker will be featured on tonight’s episode of ESPN’s E:60. Baker, 13, competes with the boys baseball team and is considered to be one of the top Little League pitching talents in the country.
Baker has not lost a game in four seasons, has pitched two perfect games in the past two years and apparently has a mean knuckle ball she learned from former MLB pitcher Joe Niekro. Geena Davis, the star of the 1992 hit “A League of Their Own” will narrate the story.
13-Year-Old Little Leaguer Chelsea Baker Throws a Mean Knuckleball
by Helen Wortham | Article Date: 07/26/2010 6:40 PM
Right now there are two famous residents of Plant City, Florida. The first is Joe Niekro, the famed knuckleball pitcher known for his incredible seasons with the Houston Astros. The second is Chelsea Baker, a 13 year-old girl pitcher in an all-boys league who hasn’t lost a sanctioned game in four years.
What’s her success? Talent and a knack for the knuckleball she learned from none other than that very same “Coach Joe” Niekro.
Chelsea’s part of a growing number of female athletes that are proving that girls can compete with boys and the sports media has begun to take notice. ESPN recently profiled her on its primetime magazine, E:60. In it, narrator Geena Davis tells the tale of Chelsea “baffling and befuddling the boys.”
The show takes you on a tour of Plant City and Chelsea’s team. She chats amicably about her 65-mph fastball and her deadly strikeout knuckleball. She also admits that it’s not always cheers she hears from the stands. Some parents of the opposing teams say she should go play softball and that she’ll never be able to stay with the boys.
Bravely she states that she uses those negative comments as motivation to put that next pitch right where she wants it.
Some of the boys take it in stride when they get struck out. One kid said he might get teased because he was “fanned” by a girl but he could take it. Another clip from the special shows a boy crying on his way back to the bench.
One of her coaches, a former minor leaguer Keith Maxwell, says she’s “one of a kind.” But the fact is she’s the second female to get known for her knuckleball—the first being Eri Yoshida, the 18 year-old pitching for the U.S. minor league team, the Chico Outlaws.
Get ready for more crying, boys…I want more glass ceilings to be shattered by girls throwing knuckleballs.
There's actually some pretty sparse coverage for this considering this girl's talent.