While many people donned green garb and went out on the town to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, an 18-year-old athlete quietly made history on a baseball diamond in Providence, Rhode Island.
Since the age of 5, Olivia Pichardo has felt right at home on a baseball diamond. Hailing from Queens, New York, Pichardo seized the opportunity to start pitching when she moved from tee-ball to a league where players could pitch themselves. By her own admission, she wasn't very good. What she was, however, was determined. When she was 8, she started on a mound for the first time, facing boys in the batter's box. She struck out the side. Her competitive drive found her playing on the high school varsity team at Garden School — as a seventh and eighth grader. In 2022, she made the roster for the USA Baseball Women's National Team.
Olivia Pichardo's Lifelong Dream
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Back in 2019, when Olivia was just 15, she found herself at Guaranteed Rate Field, home to MLB's Chicago White Sox. She was caught on video throwing gas in the stadium radar booth. The video shows two pitches, the first clocking in at 97 and the second hitting triple digits. Say what you will about the accuracy of the gun, there was no denying that Pichardo had talent.
The notoriety, coupled with the talent to back it up, led to her receive multiple offers as she started looking at colleges. She was seeking a school with a very high academic standard that also had a competitive baseball team. After weighing her options, she landed at Brown University. She was named to the team as a walk-on back in November, making her the first woman to earn a spot on a varsity baseball roster in NCAA Division I history.
Down big late in the game to the Bryant University Bulldogs on March 17 , coach Grant Achilles sent Pichardo to the plate as a pinch hitter. She dug in and swung at the first pitch, a chopper to the first baseman.
Here's Olivia Pichardo making history as the first woman to play in an NCAA Division I baseball game today for Brown. (First-pitch groundout.) pic.twitter.com/aQDiWovrEe
— David Adler (@_dadler) March 17, 2023
While I'm sure it wasn't the result Pichardo had been hoping for, she took it in stride. After the game, she put everything into context:
"I just hope that young girls can watch and see that this is possible; that it's not just a dream but it is a tangible goal they can have. I really hope that there is a whole new wave and generation of girls that come around and try to make it as far as I have, and further in baseball."
Given her success and perseverance, I have no doubt we'll be hearing more about Olivia Pichardo as her journey continues.
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