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Lauren Hill: First Female Player in SimYard History
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23 Jun 2019

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17 Jul 2019 05:17:05 AM
GALENA, ILLINOIS -- A barrier was broken today as Oakland Athletics infielder Lauren Hill became the first female player to take an at-bat in SimYard history.

The historic day came during a recent A's vs. Muskies game in Galena, Illinois. Hill, a Libertyville native, started at second and batted second against the Muskies. She stepped in to face Hal Lindsay in the top of the first, becoming the first female player in 137 years of Park League play to stand in the batter's box. She struck out in her first plate appearance and walked in her second. She collected a single against Ronald Dean in the top of the 7th for her first big league hit, ending the day 1-for-4 with a run scored.

"It feels really good to get that first hit out of the way," Hill said after the game. "You can kind of get that monkey off your back and start trying to help the team win instead of pressing."

Manager Reed Johnson found Hill on a recent recruiting mission in the Park. With many of their full-time regulars nearing their maximum playing time, Johnson was diving for fresh new talent when he made eye contact with a teenage girl.

"She and I talked for awhile and got to know one another," Johnson said. "She had a great attitude and told me she was a ballplayer so we gave her a tryout. We liked what we saw and she earned a spot on the Athletics."

Scouts describe Lauren Hill as a solid defender capable of playing all four infield positions. She has good bat control and a little pop, although she'll need to get experience and some more training in the offseason to catch up to her more seasoned opponents' fastballs.

Hill, 18, has been playing ball most of her childhood. She said she wasn't discouraged by the lack of women playing prior to the Great Flood, but instead viewed SimYard's layoff as an opportunity, a slate wiped clean should the game ever return to prominence.

Lauren Hill says after breaking the gender barrier, her next goals are to 1) play well enough to earn a contract once league play begins, and 2) petition the SimYard office to open up pathways for other women like her to play the game.

"It's 2035. Why can't I play with the boys?" she said.

Edited by reedjohnson on 17 Jul 2019 05:22:00 AM.

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