Olivia Pichardo is the first woman to make the Division I baseball team: NPR

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Olivia Pichardo is the first woman to make the Division I baseball team: NPR
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Olivia Pichardo, 18, was named to the Brown University baseball team. She is the first woman named to the roster of a Division I baseball team in the United States.

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Olivia Pichardo Is The First Woman To Make The Division I Baseball Team: Npr

Olivia Pichardo, 18, was named to the Brown University baseball team. She is the first woman named to the roster of a Division I baseball team in the United States.

Brown University Athletics

When Brown University’s baseball season kicks off in February, one of the players entering the field will go down in history. Olivia Pichardo, a freshman from Queens, NY, will be the first female roster for a Division I college baseball team in the United States

“It’s kind of crazy to know that I’m living my dream right now and my ideal college experience that I’ve always wanted, so that’s really cool,” Pichardo said in a press release. She said being named to the team was surreal, as it had been her goal since eighth grade to continue playing baseball in college.

Pichardo joined Brown’s team after trials and a grueling evaluation process – during which she immediately impressed the head coach, demonstrating her abilities as an infielder, outfielder and pitcher.

“It’s a common workout for baseball and allows us to assess athleticism and arm strength, as well as offensive and defensive skills,” Brown baseball head coach Grant Achilles said. “Olivia organized the most comprehensive walk-in tryout I’ve seen of a player since becoming head coach.”

Making the cut is just the latest on-ball accomplishment for Pichardo. This year, the 18-year-old was named to the United States Women’s National Baseball Team roster as a right-handed pitcher and outfielder.

Olivia Pichardo Is The First Woman To Make The Division I Baseball Team: Npr

Pichardo will be a useful player for Brown, capable of playing both infield and outfield.

Brown University Athletics


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Brown University Athletics

Olivia Pichardo Is The First Woman To Make The Division I Baseball Team: Npr

Pichardo will be a useful player for Brown, capable of playing both infield and outfield.

Brown University Athletics

Women have made headway on baseball team rosters in recent years. In May, Kelsie Whitmore became the first woman to start in an Atlantic League professional baseball game, taking left field for the Staten Island FerryHawks.

Baseball For All, an organization that advocates for girls and women in baseball, maintains a list of colleges and universities that will consider talented players, regardless of gender. There are 8 women (including Pichardo) who are signed up to play college baseball in the spring of 2023, according to the organization.

Olivia Pichardo Is The First Woman To Make The Division I Baseball Team: Npr

Pichardo says her teammates were welcoming and cheered when she was named to the roster.

Brown University Athletics


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Brown University Athletics

Olivia Pichardo Is The First Woman To Make The Division I Baseball Team: Npr

Pichardo says her teammates were welcoming and cheered when she was named to the roster.

Brown University Athletics

Pichardo will be a useful player in both the infield and the outfield at the start of the college season. She says when Achille announced at a team meeting in October that she had made the cut, her new teammates burst into applause.

“I didn’t expect this at all – it definitely took me by surprise,” Pichardo said. “Everyone was super happy with it.”

And with any luck, she’ll be far from the last woman to play college baseball at the highest level.

“I’m really happy that we have more and more female baseball players at the collegiate level, and regardless of the division, it’s really good to see this progression,” said Pichardo. “It really paves the way for other girls in the next generation to also have these goals that they want to achieve and to dream big and know they can do it.”

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