Though the game may be upstaged by California's state basketball playoffs, two girls will oppose each other on the mound during what is believed will be a historic high school baseball contest on Saturday at Birmingham (Lake Balboa, Calif.)
The host Patriots will send 5-foot-2 senior Marti Sementelli against Ghazaleh
Sailors of San Marcos (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
. They were teammates last summer on the U.S. National Women's Team that won the bronze medal during the fourth World Cup of Women's Baseball in Venezuela.
Birmingham coach Matt Mowry told MaxPreps that Sementelli's "big thing is (1) her competitive nature and (2) she has great command of all her pitches and is able to throw them for strikes at any time in the count. Her best is her palmball. She has a two-seam fastball that really moves and has added a cut fastball. She constantly moves the ball in and around the zone and keeps it down."
Last year Sementelli pitched 25 innings on the varsity and won one game. She did everything from starting to middle relief to closing.
Mowry added, "I
think she's one of the top high school female pitchers in the country.
She's definitely got quality. It's going to be interesting and a lot of
Sailors is a 5-3 senior right-hander who throws a curve and changeup with very good control, according to first-
year head coach Tony Vanetti. She had an 0-2 record last year as the No. 3 pitcher on the JV team, which Vanetti coached.
“It’s OK, but it (the matchup) is getting way too much coverage,” Vanetti feels. “She’s kind of an unproven commodity. We haven’t even given out our uniforms yet. We don’t open until March 4 against Oxnard.
“It’s a novelty and it’s going to be fun to be a part of that.”
Justine Siegal, who promotes girls baseball as the founder of Baseball For All, said, "I don't know if this is the first ever (girls matchup), but I think it's fantastic that two girls are playing high school baseball and their coaches and teammates are being so supportive."
Siegal, who pitched batting practice for two major league teams earlier this week, added, "It no longer is going to be boy vs. girl, but girl vs. girl. It's a great example of a co-ed baseball high school experience. That's what any female athlete wants – just to be respected and be a part of the team."