Isabella Marchini began playing for Team Steel Gold out of Baseball Heaven two years ago, and she is currently an 11U player. She has seen and heard it all from opponents asking why a girl would be playing a male dominated sport, but she lets her play on the field do the talking. Whether it’s hitting home runs or striking out hitters, Isabella has more than proved she belongs out on the baseball field playing the game she loves.
Steel Sports: What sparked your interest in baseball and when did you start playing?
Isabella Marchini: From when I was in a baby carrier, I have been at baseball fields watching my brother (who is now 17) play baseball. I don’t think I ever picked up a softball, at least that’s what my mom and dad say! I started playing baseball at 5 years old, T-Ball I think it was. I just loved being in the field and most of all loved getting up to bat. At that time, I was again the only girl on the team. But it was my town in-house team, the Marlins! It was a team of all my neighborhood friends, so we all knew each other. I played for our town’s travel team, the Hicksville Hurricanes, but I wanted more, so I tried out for the Long Island Jr. Ducks. I played for the Ducks for 1 1/2 years, and then I wanted more and that is where Team Steel came in.
SS: How would you describe your experience playing for Team Steel?
Isabella: I started playing for Team Steel Gold two years ago. I remember my mom and dad asking me if I was sure this is what I wanted to do and that there will be a lot of boys trying out and it will be OK if you do not make it. Well, I played my hardest, and yes, there were A LOT of boys trying out. There were many stares as to what is a girl doing here, but I went on the field and showed them! I was so happy when I made the cut! Team Steel has been great, from the winter workouts to spring, to summer and then to fall ball! They have never made me feel like I shouldn’t be here, especially my coach, Coach Rich. He told me he always wanted a girl on the team, and he got one! He has been a great coach throughout this part of my life, and I wouldn’t change it at all. He has been such a great support system for me.
SS: How has playing baseball and playing for Team Steel helped you grow as a person?
Isabella: I have made some great friends and have a great coach playing for Team Steel. When I first tried out, some of the kids that were staring and saying, “OMG, what is a girl doing here?” I am now friends with. It is like hanging out with my big brothers. It’s a great feeling knowing that they have my back, just like I have theirs. I have heard some stories from other girls, saying that travel teams or in-house teams won’t let them play baseball. I have never had that issue here, which makes me love playing for Team Steel even more. Baseball Heaven has become my second home, and it is so good knowing this.
SS: What did it mean to you to go to Rockford, Illinois and play in the Baseball for All Nationals with over 200 other girls? What was the competition like?
Isabella: I was nervous! You wouldn’t think that because I play baseball with all the boys, but that is normal to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect. They asked me to play for the 13U team, which back home I play 11U, so this made me afraid. I was honored to be asked to play there and I was going, not knowing anything. It was a great experience playing with girls who know how to play ball! There were some girls like me, who never picked up a softball in their lives! I went down to Rockford not knowing anyone and came back to New York with some new friends from Chicago and Minnesota! The competition was like a normal baseball competition. You had girls pitching just as fast as the boys, striking out others and you had girls playing the field and making diving catches just like them too. I definitely enjoyed it. I met the original Rockford Peaches which was great to see and got autographs. I never knew there were so many girls playing baseball and never knew how many issues that they have with states and cities not letting them play.
SS: What would you say to other girls who want to play baseball but may be worried because it’s a boy dominant sport?
Isabella: I have been stared at by kids and parents. I have been told, “Why is there a girl on this team?” I have been up to bat where they try to strike me out. What I would say is never give up. I have hit singles, doubles, triples and even home runs. I have pitched a perfect game. I have walked many, I have struck out more, and I have also been taken out because it just wasn’t my day. But if this is what you want, then go for it! This year, I am trying out for my middle school baseball team. All the boys who know me already put in the coach’s head that I play baseball. I have hit home runs off these kids and have struck some out. Am I nervous, YES, but I asked my mom and dad if they have my back, and they told me if it’s your dream, then follow it! Don’t let them bother you or make you afraid. Show them how you play, and their feelings will change. Follow your dreams. You’re the only one who can do that! I think I have made many people think differently about having a girl on the team. Who knows, maybe 12U it may be different and harder for me. Boys will be stronger than me, but I know that I will try my hardest to keep up with the boys and work at the game and make myself stronger to show others that girls can play baseball! I am not saying that I will play in the major leagues, but I will say at 12 I am following my dreams of playing the game!
About Isabella Marchini
Hometown: Hicksville, NY
Positions: 1st base, Pitcher
Favorite MLB Team: New York Mets
Favorite MLB Player: Mike Trout