The Sonoma Stompers (independent; Pacific Association) will make history by fielding professional baseball’s first all-female battery on July 22. U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) catcher Anna Kimbrell will join the Stompers and start behind the plate, with Kelsie Whitmore pitching in the game.
Whitmore, along with Stacy Piagno, was previously signed by the Stompers in June. This is part of a continuing initiative with Virginia Dare Winery and filmmaker Francis Ford Coppala.
Kimbrell, 25, has played in each of the last four Women’s Baseball World Cups with the USWNT, where she has been teammates with both Whitmore and Piagno. Kimbrell was the catcher during Piagno’s no-hitter against Puerto Rico in the Pan-Am Games on July 23, 2015. She will be with the team until July 27.
“Anna’s success at the national level with Team USA, her experience catching both Stacy and Kelsie, and her experience playing wood-bat, men’s league baseball made her a natural fit for this team and this project,” said Stompers general manager Theo Fightmaster, “She’s exactly the kind of player Francis (Ford Coppola) was envisioning when he brought this endeavor our way. We’re excited to see what the women can do, and having Anna join the team is just the next step in the advancement of women in baseball. We only wish her schedule allowed her to be with the team for a longer period of time.”
The native of Fort Mill, South Carolina was a standout at the University of Alabama-Birmingham as a softball player during her college days, but has been waiting for this opportunity in baseball for a long time.
In a post on Twitter from July 14, Kimbrell announced she would be coming to the Wine Country to play the game she loves so much. “Excited to announce that I will be joining @StacyPiagno & @KelsieWhitmore w/ the @SonomaStompers #dreamsdocometrue”.
All three women will be stalwarts of the USWNT when they travel to South Korea in September to take part in the 2016 Women’s Baseball World Cup. It will be Whitmore’s first start of the season for the Stompers, but she has had experience pitching on the USWNT before, pitching to a 1.40 ERA during the 2015 Pan-Am Games.
Sonoma will host the Pittsburg Diamonds that evening, with the historic first pitch set for 6 p.m.