Sports

‘It’s always one step at a time.’ Yosemite High senior breaking baseball barriers

Trinity Curtis at the Team USA baseball tryouts in North Carolina for the Women’s Baseball World Cup team.
Trinity Curtis at the Team USA baseball tryouts in North Carolina for the Women’s Baseball World Cup team.

Trinity Curtis is all about “breaking barriers,” and as a girl in the world of baseball, there are plenty left to be broken.

At 17, she has already torn down a few. As a freshman, she was the first girl to ever make Yosemite High School’s junior varsity baseball team. A year later, she was one of about 100 girls to be invited to the inaugural MLB Trailblazer Series, a youth academy meant to promote baseball among young girls.

Curtis has continued her immersion into the traditionally male-dominated sport of baseball this year. In June, she got the opportunity to travel to North Carolina and try out for the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation Women’s Baseball World Cup in Viera, Fla., Aug. 22-31.

In her nine years playing the sport, she said the scrimmages at the national team tryouts were among the most competitive she had ever played. Curtis made the preliminary 40-woman roster as a utility player, meaning she could be deployed at nearly any position, but was unable to make the final 20-player roster.

“I knew I was OK at playing baseball, but I never would’ve thought I would have made the 40 for Team USA. I was definitely surprised,” Curtis said.

For Curtis, as surprising as her achievement was, her competitive nature was quick to remind her that it only meant there was more to be done.

“I’m always trying to keep pushing how far I’m trying to go. Making the national team would be a huge step for me,” she said.

The Yosemite High senior even stopped playing basketball to further focus on baseball. The prioritization of baseball over all other sports comes as no surprise; it basically runs in her blood.

Her grandfather, two older brothers and her mother all played the sport and each has influenced her to continue pursuing it.

“They all coached me,” she says.

Her grandfather, Wayne Curtis, would play catch with her from a young age. The sibling rivalry with her two older brothers, Josh and Shane Curtis, instilled the confidence she needed to play amongst the boys.

Even her great uncle, Clarence Weaver, has gotten involved. He has taken on the responsibility of driving Trinity from sporting event to sporting event. Over that time, he, too, has become aware of Trinity’s skill and her drive.

“Just watch her out on the field. She moves really well, she likes the game. She’s not going to stop,” Weaver says.

And then there’s her mother. Trista Curtis has her own background in baseball, but as a mother, she was tasked with raising three children on her own.

“That made me look up to my mom and see how independent and strong-willed she is. It’s made me stronger. I don’t let things get to me because I want to push forward and she sets a great example for that,” Trinity says.

And while Trinity looks to her mother for much of her inspiration, she did not take the course her mother did when it came to baseball. Trinity says her mother chose to leave baseball in favor of softball, in spite of baseball being her true love.

Trinity’s decided to stick with baseball and her decision was only further cemented by the camps and events she has attended over the past two years.

“Me, personally, a few years ago I didn’t even know that that many girls played baseball,” she says, “Being invited to all these different things really opened my eyes and makes me realize that a lot of people were like me at one point that didn’t know.”

Trinity plays on with the hope to open the eyes of more girls across the country.

“I want to help other girls that are younger than me continue to break barriers. It’s always one step at a time,” she says. “If I break one barrier and that’s my absolute end, then I want them to break the next one and the next one, and just come together as one, and keeping breaking barriers for the girls behind us.”

Nowadays, opportunities for women in baseball are limited. There are no professional leagues and college baseball scholarships are scarcely handed out to women.

One day, Trinity hopes to have a Women’s Major League Baseball, or WMLB as she calls it. But she knows that begins with helping young girls realize that it is both normal and encouraged for them to play baseball.

The Baseball For All organization has made it its mission to encourage more girls to play baseball by coordinating national and regional baseball tournaments for girls 18 and under. Trinity’s travel team, the San Francisco Bay Sox, won the Baseball For All national tournament in the under-17 division in early August.

Trinity says the tournament doubled in size from last year, an encouraging sign for the future of women in baseball.

“It’s showing that we should be treated equally because we play on guy’s teams and we play with other girls. It just shows that we’re willing to do anything just to play baseball,” Trinity says.

With college on the horizon, Trinity knows her chances of playing baseball at the collegiate level are slim. She is hoping to earn a scholarship in golf, her other passion in life. She helped lead the Yosemite High golf team to a Central Section Division II North Area tournament win last year.

Even without a school to play for, both Trinity and her great uncle Weaver are sure her dedication to the baseball diamond will not waver. Trinity’s sights are already set on playing in the next Women’s Baseball World Cup in 2020.

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