Hot dogs and sunshine. Apple pie and fireworks. With Independence Day just around the corner what could be more American than that Baseball, perhaps?
But what about with a girl thrown into the mix — as in she plays the sport; it doesn’t change the tradition, right?
That’s a question Gilbert’s Cerina Adame, 16, gets asked regularly.
The only female player on Desert Hills High School’s varsity baseball team says when boys learn she plays baseball, many ask, “Isn’t that against the rules?”
“The girls get it. They think it’s cool. But they wouldn’t do it,” Adame said.
In August, Adame will take her game on the road — a long road that requires a plane trip halfway around the world.
She will play for Team USA in Japan for the all-girls Baseball for Friendship 2013 Tournament. The team includes players from across the United States, from Alaska and Florida to Connecticut and California. Adame is the only player from Arizona.
The story of what landed Adame on her high school’s baseball team is what legends are made of: During baseball practice last year, a home run landed in the parking lot. Adame was there — her softball practice was ending. She picked up the ball and threw it all the way to home plate.
The baseball coach asked her what she was doing the next day.
She became the first female to play on the baseball team at the charter school, and she did so before a crowd of classmates and media crews.
“I was nervous because of all the news people there and people who were from school. But after the first pitch, I was fine,” she said.
Adame started playing softball about six years ago when her grandparents — her legal guardians — told her it was time to pick a sport.
After years of watching baseball on the living room television with her grandfather, softball seemed a natural choice.
“I was really nervous the first. I threw up my first game. It was hard,” she said.
She’s played recreationally and for club teams for years, but didn’t play for her school until she transferred to Desert Hills High for her sophomore year. She played only three games before the baseball team snatched her up.
But then the baseball team learned it would have to forfeit the games Adame played in because she wasn’t on the roster when the season began. It looked like her days of playing varsity baseball were over.
The team didn’t see it that way.
Since the team lost its next few games anyway, Adame said, players asked her to come back.
This summer, Adame is keeping up with softball as a member of the Arizona Outlaws Elite fast-pitch team. But she’ll soon focus more on her baseball game.
“It’s a lot bigger field. It’s longer to run. I feel like I’m almost there (to the base), but I’m not half way there,” she said of the differences between the sports.
Team USA won’t play together until a few days after they arrive in Japan, and Adame has only met one other member.
Her grandmother, Beth Davis, said she’s not surprised Adame has embraced baseball.
“When she first started softball, she had a fire and was just hungry. That has kind of evened out,” Davis said. “When baseball came, that fire came back. She likes to buck the trend anyway.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or firstname.lastname@example.org