Women take a swing at baseball
FOR the past four weeks, a determined group of women have met every Sunday morning to practice and refine their baseball skills.
Hosted by the Alfredton Baseball Club, the Girls at Bat program provides a welcoming and safe environment to introduce girls and women to the sport.
With more than 80 women expressing interest in the first week, the free sessions have been filled with eager participants who practice everything from pitching to batting.
Alfredton women’s baseball coordinator Marion Butler said the group enjoy the inclusiveness of the program.
“There’s no discrimination based on people’s skill levels, it’s all about these women being introduced to the sport and enjoying the social aspects of it,” she said.
Partnering with VicHealth and Baseball Australia, the City of Ballarat aims to increase female participation in all sports across the municipality, as part of the Active Women and Girls initiative.
To commemorate Girls at Bat’s fourth and final session, Australian Emeralds player Abbey McLellan visited Prince of Wales park to encourage and congratulate the women on their progress.
“These regional centres that are popping up with these awesome programs are doing a brilliant job of fostering participation from the grassroots level,” she said.
The baseball star also said that increasing female interest in sport is great, as it can form pathways to playing on a national level.
“In the early days of my career, I played on a lot of male teams where I was the only girl on the team, or even the only girl in the league,” she said.
“It’s just not very encouraging, it doesn’t motivate you to show up or play, so it’s brilliant to have these women here giving it a try.”
On Saturday, 21 March, the girls will head down to the Bellarine Peninsula, where they will take part in a variety of training exercises and social games.
In future, the Alfredton Baseball Club are hoping to be able to organise a program for the women, where they can compete with other teams around the state.