'Just go for it': Crow student joins baseball team when softball team doesn't form
CROW, Ore. – Crow High School doesn’t have a softball team this year because not enough girls wanted to play. But that isn’t stopping one girl from stepping up to the plate – on a slightly larger diamond.
Whitney Anderson joined the baseball team. Coaches said they were low on players and Whitney was ready to step up to the plate.
“I thought well, Whitney could play if we really need somebody. And the principal was double thumbs up and said, 'Yeah let's see if she wants to,’” said Billy Anderson, the Crow athletic director and Whitney’s father.
The very next day, Whitney was on the baseball team.
It’s been about a week since she joined, but her coaches and teammates say she’s already been a highlight for the squad.
“It's great having her. She took over the second [base] position and she's doing really well,” said Kevin Stevens, assistant varsity baseball coach.
“Brings a positive attitude to the team and keeps everybody happy, not caring if we lose or win, win or lose it's OK,” said Max Wagner, Crow infielder and pitcher.
The distance between the bases in baseball is about 30 feet further than the distance in softball.
Whitney said this is just one of many differences she’s faced in the transition.
“Running the bases is hard because it's so much further and I'm not used to it. And pop-flies are hard because of the size of the ball and the color is way different. So it's hard to track it down,” she said.
She said playing ball with the boys is a different kind of game.
“It makes me kind of tougher. Like in softball if you mess up, they coddle you. Here they just yell at you and you keep going,” Whitney said.
Whitney’s father said this experience not only prepares her for challenges on the field, but also challenges in life.
“I think it will give her a chance to think on her feet. I've always asked our athletes to think about what you're going to do before you get the ball, because once you get the ball it's too late. So, I think given this opportunity will give her another option on what to do in a real world situation,” Billy said.
Whitney’s advice to other young women is to not let fear strike you out of any opportunity life may bring.
“Like I was pretty nervous to come out here and just jump on the team, but don't worry about it too much, don't over-think it, just go for it. Chances are you won't regret it, and if you do, oh well at least you tried it. So, don't let your fear or anything get in the way, just go out and try it, and if it works out that's awesome and you'll be really glad you did it,” she said.
Whitney has lettered in volleyball, basketball, track and field, and softball. She’s also the Crow student body president and is a volunteer coach for the second grade basketball team.
She has been nominated for the Female Athlete of the Year in the SportsTown Awards.