MLB to host its first girls’ baseball tournament

Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that it will be hosting its first girls’ baseball tournament next week.

Approximately 100 girls, ages 16 and under, representing 20 states, as well as Washington D.C. and Canada, will participate in the three-day tournament, which will be called the “Trailblazer Series.” The event will be held in conjunction with Jackie Robinson Day April 13-15 in the Los Angeles area.

The girls competing will be coached by several of the nation’s top female baseball coaches and players, including Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch, as well as players from USA Baseball’s Women’s National Team.

“In memory of Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball is committed to making our sport accessible and inclusive for all those who want to play, coach or participate,” Commissioner Robert Manfred said in a statement. “MLB and USA Baseball have listened to the growing demand for girls’ and women’s baseball by launching this unprecedented event. We will be proud to do so on the most meaningful date on our calendar, Jackie Robinson Day, at our Youth Academy in Compton.

“It is our honor to support trailblazing young women who will be outstanding representatives of their communities.”

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The girls playing in the Trailblazer Series will be divided into two age divisions, 16U & 12U, and have been placed onto teams by random selection.

The teams will be named after notable alumnae from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which lasted from 1943 to 1954. They include, Dottie Green, Joanne Winter, Faye Dancer, Doris “Sammye” Sams, Dorothy “Dottie” Kamenshek, Pepper Paire, Shirley Burkovich and Maybelle Blair.

“The establishment of the Trailblazer Series marks an exciting next chapter in the history of women’s baseball,” Paul Seiler, Executive Director and CEO of USA Baseball said in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with Major League Baseball on yet another impactful amateur initiative, one that aligns with and supports our Women’s National Team programming which has represented our country in the Women’s World Cup since its inaugural event in 2004.”

During the tournament, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be in town hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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