A league of their own
Chelsea Baseball finally has a girls team
By Stuart Benson
For the parents watching Chelsea Baseball’s very first girls’ team, The Cardinals Bleus, face-off in an exhibition match against their under-11 boys' counterparts, the Cardinals Rouges, at Russell Martin baseball diamond in Chelsea on June 19, the decision for who to root for was a difficult one.
“I think at this point it’s about who will take the loss the hardest,” one parent told this reporter before the game on condition of anonymity as both their son and daughter were competing against each other. “It’s going to be a much longer weekend if the boys lose.”
A growing baseball association, Chelsea had around 45 players five years ago but has now seen those numbers increase to over 130. According to Bleus coach Catherine Robin, it had been a struggle to cultivate and maintain enough girls within the program for their own team — that is until recently. Now Chelsea finally has a girls' team that will be playing at home and across the region against other girls' teams.
“This year we kind of got past a critical mass,” Robin said, explaining that once four or five of the girls had registered – including her daughter Clara Chi, 11, who took a turn pitching in the final inning – they were able to attract the rest through word of mouth. Robin also credited the installation of new lighting at the field, which extended hours of play each day and allowed the girls enough time to play and practice.
“This would have been almost impossible till we got the lights,” Robin said.
One of the first recruits to the team was Clara’s friend Beatrice Dufour, 10, who discussed a topic every athlete and sports fan knows all too well: a call by the umpire during the June 19 exhibition game she said she disagreed with.
Dufour was particularly animated about a call in the bottom of the 1st when her teammate Nora Seligy, 9, was called “out” at first, nullifying a run home from third, marching directly over to this reporter for her post-game interview
"I think the [umpire] misjudged it," Dufour said. “I want that in the paper.”
Regardless of the umpire's decisions or the scoreboard – the Bleus lost – she said she was just happy to be out playing ball with Clara and the rest of her friends on the team.
"Today was very scary," Dufour said, "[But] it was very fun.”