13 Pioneers have played for their high school's baseball teams, 9 have been National Team selections, and one received an NCAA Division II scholarship for baseball.
Baseball is a sport and girls are playing it.....that's what the Chicago Pioneers are all about.
Chicago Pioneers Girls Baseball Program Time-Line
First meeting of the Chicago Pioneers Girls Baseball Program took place on August 31, 2006 at Glenbrook Sports Academy in Northbrook, Illinois.
In October of 2006, the first 12 Pioneers players competed in and won the 14U division of the Women's World Series VI held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, the first American girls baseball team to do so.
In December, 2006, the Chicago Pioneers petitioned a boys travel league, the North Shore Baseball League, for an opportunity to play as an all-girls team in their league. The petition was accepted and in June, 2007, 16 Pioneers ages 12-15 became what is believed to be the first all-girls baseball team in the United States to participate in an all-boys travel baseball league, competing in the 14B division of the NSBL.
Later in 2007, The Pioneers won the last and decisive game of the 15U Division of the CAN-AM Women's Tournament held in Detroit, June 30-July 1. Again believed to be the first United States Girls Baseball Tournament, the Pioneers defeated the Pawtucket Slaterettes 5-4 on a bases loaded walk-off suicide squeeze play.
Also in 2007, historic Thillens Stadium on Chicago's north side played host to the Pioneers on July 25 and August 1 in again what are believed to be the first two all-girls baseball games played in its 70 year history. 26 girls ages 8-13 watched former AAGPL players Eileen "Ginger" Gascon and Jackie Baumgart throw out the first pitches and played two intra-squad baseball games in an all- girls setting.
The Pioneers Tournament Team, 11 players ages 13-23, competed in their first elite women's baseball tournament playing in the upper division of the USA Baseball scouted 11-team CAN-AM International Tournament, June 30-July 2 in Detroit. Going 2-2 in the tournament, 2 Pioneers players, ages 15 and 16, were selected to the 2007 Women's National Baseball Team.
Also in 2007, the first Fall Ball Season began for the Pioneers on September 8 in the North Shore Youth Baseball Association League for 11-15 year old players.
The Pioneers participated in both the Women's Baseball Nationals and the first 15U Girls Baseball Nationals in Fort Myers, Florida in October of 2007. The Pioneers won the inaugural 15U Girls Baseball National Championships beating the Slaterettes of Rhode Island in a 4-game series, 4-5; 16-4; 9-4; 4-0.
Participating in their first national championships, the Pioneers were 4-1 and seeded 2nd out of 10 teams after pool play, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Both tournaments were hosted by Roy Hobbs Baseball.
In 2008, the Pioneers fielded two teams to participate in the NSBL at the 11B and 14B divisions.
In the spring, the Pioneers were among only 4 U.S. teams invited to play in the inaugural Women's Hall of Fame Classic in Kenosha, Wisconsin where USA Baseball scouted for the Women's National Team (2 Pioneers players were selected).
In October, the Women's Baseball Nationals Tournament was held in Tucson, Arizona where the Pioneers finished 3rd out of 9 teams. The tournament was held at the then spring training facilities of the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.
In 2009, the Pioneers Elite Tournament Team played in the championship games of both the Diamond Classic (in Baltimore) and the Women's HOF (in Kenosha) Tournaments.
The Pioneers once again played in the 11B division of the North Shore Baseball League in 2009.....our third year competing in this boys travel league.
In August, the 12U Pioneers were the only all-girls team to play in the inaugural Cooperstown Classic at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
The Women's Baseball Nationals held in Huntingburg, Indiana found the Pioneers finishing in 3rd place. The tournament was held at League Stadium where Columbia Pictures built the grandstand that became part of the set for the movie, "A League of Their Own."
The elite tournament team played in the Diamond Classic in both 2010 & 2011. The third year "was the charm" as the Pioneers won their first women's baseball tournament championship in Baltimore, May 30, 2011.
The Pioneers won the 11B division of the North Shore Baseball League in 2010, the first all-girls team to do so. The team finished their season with a record of 20-5. http://www.makeitbetter.net/make-a-difference/local-treasures/1763-girl-power-baseball-isnt-just-for-boys
In 2010, two Pioneers were selected as Women's National Team members by USA Baseball. The 20-member squad traveled to Venezuela and participated in the 4th Women's Baseball World Cup. In 2011, USA Baseball hosted an International Friendly tournament with Canada at the National Training Complex in Cary, NC. 5 Pioneers were invited to participate.
In 2011, the 5th year participating in the newly named Travel Ball North Shore League, the Pioneers finished 10-8 in the 12U division and were crowned champions of the 12U Near West Little League Invitational Tournament in Chicago.
15 Pioneers attended the first ever USA Baseball girls camp at the National Training Complex in Cary, NC, August 4-6, 2011.
In November, the Pioneers won their first national championship, beating the 6-time defending champion New England Red Sox in Ft. Myers, Florida. The Pioneers went undefeated in the 8-team, 7-game tournament, hosted by Roy Hobbs Baseball, played November 12-15 at the spring training facilities of the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins.
The Chicago Pioneers Girls Baseball Program is working with interested, local, youth baseball organizations and baseball instructors to help facilitate all-girls teams, camps, and instruction. We believe more girls will continue to play baseball, and not switch to other sports as they get older, if they are able to participate in baseball activities with players who are of similar ability level and age and same gender. Additionally, until there are enough girls baseball teams, leagues, and tournaments of their own, the Pioneers advocate an "age equalizer" for all-girls teams of at least two years by age 11, for those all-girls teams competing in all-boys leagues and tournaments, and events. We understand that ice hockey did this when girls hockey was an emerging sport and individual all-girls teams were forming so they would have a place to play and gain experience. That philosophy worked well for ice hockey in the United States as now, in less than a generation, it has become a major sport for females with teams, leagues, tournaments, college scholarships, and an USA Olympic Women's Team of their own.
With the help of the American Women's Baseball Federation (AWBF) and USA Baseball, the Pioneers are working to organize and send a team of girls to participate in the Baseball Canada sanctioned, inaugural Bantam Girls International Invitational in August of 2012, near Halifax. The Pioneers have been invited by Baseball Nova Scotia to represent the United States in this historic event.
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) has started two initiatives which will affect the Pioneers' program. A women's baseball committee has been formed to start grass-roots baseball programs for girls in countries around the world. At the same time, the IBAF is embracing women's baseball as a partner in their bid to have the International Olympic Committee restore baseball as a program sport in 2020.
Sponsorship - Currently it is not easy or convenient to play baseball on an all-girls team or in an all-girls setting. The Pioneers are looking for sponsors to defray the cost of practice facilities, travel, uniforms, equipment, league, tournament participation fees, etc. If you are interested in helping girls baseball and the Chicago Pioneers, please click onto "Tax-Exempt Gifts" to the left and send in your donation. In advance the Chicago Pioneers THANK YOU for your gift.....
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