Baseball: A game for boys AND for girls

Dedication: To all girls who never had the chance to pursue their dreams just because it wasn't the normal.

My name is Laura and I want to share my story about Girls playing baseball.

When I was 6, I moved to Tokyo with my parents and immediately discovered baseball, the most popular sport in Japan. I loved the atmosphere at games and spent time at the local batting centre and playing catch with my father. Soon after,I signed up to play at the American Club – without realising it was a ‘boys’ game’. In 2010 I joined a local Japanese team and trained hard. The coaches were strict! The devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011 meant I never got to play a game with them before returning home to London where I joined the London Mets (baseball is very rare in the UK!).

One day, the Mets’ ace pitcher was injured and I was chosen as his replacement. I was reluctant to try because I knew I could throw but I did not know how to pitch. Little did I realise that would be the start of my pitching career! The London Mets played in the European Club Championships 3 years in a row and we successful in all.

In 2014, I was selected for the under 16 Great Britain baseball team and played at the USSSA Gold Medal Games in Florida. Great Britain was unsuccessful but I felt that my performance was good. I was the first girl to be selected for the national team. In 2015, aged 15, I was selected for the under 18 Great Britain Baseball team and took part in the European Championships. Later in 2015 the Minnesota Girls’ Baseball Association included me in their baseball card series, produced to encourage girls to take up the sport. I was so delighted and honoured!

In addition to my baseball career, I have also represented Great Britain on the under 13, 16 and 19 softball teams, travelling to a number of European and World Championships in Europe and the USA.

My ambition is to pursue my baseball career while studying at university in the USA.

Story shared by...

Laura Hirai