Baseball For All Nationals Breaks Records for the Largest All-Girls Baseball Tournament in U.S. History
31 Jul, 2019
Baseball For All (BFA) will host its fifth annual Nationals, the largest—and longest running—all-girls baseball tournament in the U.S. With over 350 girls ages 7–18 participating, the tournament will welcome an unprecedented number of female high school baseball players and introduce a new 9U division, signaling a marked growth in the interest and participation of girls in baseball nationwide.
“Our organization isn’t just about girls playing baseball—it’s addressing the larger issue of gender equality,” says Justine Siegal, Major League Baseball’s first female coach and founder of BFA. “Too many girls are still told they can’t play baseball because they are girls. Through Baseball For All and this Nationals tournament, we want girls to know they can follow their passions—that they have no limits.”
Since 2017, this youth baseball tournament has seen an 85% rise in the number of girls participating. This year, 31 all-girl teams with players from the U.S., Canada, and South Korea, will head back to Rockford, Illinois to play at the historic home of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’s (AAGPBL) Rockford Peaches.
The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, is the lead sponsor of the Baseball For All Nationals tournament. With these funds, more than 50 girls from all over the country were awarded financial need- based scholarships for BFA Nationals, giving even more girls access and opportunities to play baseball.
For their final year in this historic city, Baseball For All has collaborated with the Chicago White Sox to honor the past, present, and future of women’s baseball during an on-field parade on July 31 featuring BFA Nationals players and former AAGPBL players including Maybelle Blair, Jeneane Lesko, and Shirley Burkovich. To bookend the four-day tournament, Megan Cavanagh, a comedian and an actress who famously played Marla Hooch in A League of Their Own, will emcee the BFA Nationals closing ceremonies on August 4.
Baseball For All Nationals is the organization’s largest girls baseball tournament. In 2019, they are slated to host at least four other regional tournaments around the country, as well as all-girls baseball clinics in an effort to grow and solidify the future of girls baseball in the U.S.
Baseball For All is a 501(c)3 nonprofit leveling the playing field for girls across America by providing girls with opportunities to play, coach, and lead in baseball. Nationals is a joint effort between Baseball For All, International Women’s Baseball Center, and Friends of Beyer Stadium.