Chelsea Prescott focuses on the next pitch in a recent Babe Ruth game. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)

Not just one of the guys: Prescott finds challenge in baseball

The throwing motion is not a giveaway. Nor the swing, base running, fielding or pitching.

It’s the long blonde ponytail that reaches halfway down the back of her jersey and the occasional “attagirl” that echoes around the baseball field.

Coupeville’s Chelsea Prescott, 14, is the only girl in the area’s five-town, seven-team Babe Ruth baseball league, which includes players 12 to 15 years old.

While it is not unusual for girls to play Little League baseball, with a few sprinkled among teams across the country, it is rare for one to continue into the higher levels of ball.

Prescott chose baseball over softball this summer for the challenge.

“Last year in junior softball there was not much competition,” she said. “I really wanted the competition and I really wanted to get better.”

Prescott, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School next fall, will return to the softball diamond next spring.

“I love softball,” she said. “Playing on the larger (baseball) field makes me try harder and work harder; it will make it that much easier going back to the smaller softball field.”

Prescott said her parents, Cory and Josie Prescott, were “surprised” when they found out she wanted to play baseball but accepted her wish when they learned she wanted to be tested.

Prescott plays outfield and pitches for the Babe Ruth team; she also found the challenge she was seeking.

“I have my moments (of success),” Prescott said. “Base running has been my best skill. Pitching and batting are so-so; maybe with my pitching being a little better.

“My fielding needs a lot of work.”

When Prescott plays, “you don’t really notice she is a girl,” coach Steven Hilborn said. “She seems like one of the guys. She has a good swing and is very athletic.”

Prescott also fits right in off the field, Hilborn said.

“I don’t feel like we treat her special or take it easy on her,” he said.

Prescott bounced between softball and baseball in her younger years, so her male teammates are used to her being on the team.

“I see her as any one of us,” teammate Gavin Knoblich said. “She hits well, she throws strikes, she is one of the group.”

Prescott said she has not heard any disparaging remarks from teammates, fans or opponents.

“They accept me,” she said. “They don’t talk bad to me or rude to me.”

Teammate Drake Borden said he is sometimes asked by opponents, “Is that a girl on your team? Is she legit?”

Legit, yes.

Opponents know better than to criticize her, Knoblich said, because, as a pitcher, “she will put you in your place.”

Prescott also plays volleyball and basketball, but likes baseball and softball “a little more.”

“It’s hard to explain, but when you hit the ball on the sweet spot — oh, what a feeling.”

The Coupeville Babe Ruth season is nearing its end, as is Prescott’s baseball playing days.

“I am really glad I played,” she said. “It made me work a lot harder than usual.”

Attagirl.

 

Chelsea Prescott pitches against the Oak Harbor Babe Ruth team earlier this season. (Photo by Jim Waller/Whidbey News-Times)