By Craig Royce
Pinnacle High School’s Mikail Stansfield is a different kind of female athlete. This young lady loves baseball so much that she has pioneered a spot, for the past three years, on Pinnacle’s UHSAA Boys’ Baseball team.
Mikail has stopped balls in the outfield, been hit by pitches, ran the bases, driven balls to the outfield, all against some of the finest athletes in Utah’s Southern 1A Region. This is no “Me Too” tale. Mikail is sharing her experiences and tips on “how to” compete, strengthen and elevate young ladies’ confidence among any social grouping, especially young men in a field of battle.
When the whistle blows, or the ump declares “play ball”, starting gun goes off, or ball goes up at center court, the battle begins. With baseballs whizzing past, Mikail Stansfield began her story:
“I started boys’ baseball when I was in seventh grade and have been playing ever since. Today, I am a junior at Pinnacle High School here in Price, Utah. When people ask me why I play boys’ baseball, I just shrug and say ‘They told me I couldn’t do it, so I did!’
The concept that few girls could play baseball or do anything that a male could was a statement that never made sense to me. My first year of baseball was in a league of younger boys, all the teams were named after MLB teams. My team was the Yankees. Ironically, I didn’t care for the Yankees, yet; that year was one of the best years of baseball for me.
One of my strongest memories of baseball was, of course, that very first game. Before that game, my older brother came up to me and promised a $20 bill if my first hit was a line drive into right field. Let’s just say I was $20 richer that day. It was the day I would officially be known as a right fielder every time I played baseball. I caught my first pop fly in right as well.
I chose baseball as my sport, not because it was considered a male sport and I desired to make a point, rather, I loved the feeling. That proud feeling when you get another player out or when you slide home as the ball is screaming toward the plate. I grew up in a male-dominated family. Here, I played and hung out with the boys, so being around the opposite sex was not that big of a deal.
However, for young girls that haven’t, my advice to them is, just be confident. Whether you are the best, or worst, be confident. Confidence is not “I know or care if they like me.” No! Confidence is “I’ll be and am fine if they do not.” It can be scary going into a male-dominated domain but, as with all life, you have to be focused on you and doing what you love. Do not be intimated.
Ladies, don’t sacrifice anything for the image that people think you should have. Being a female on a baseball team, people would often think I am a tomboy and hate everything “girly,” but that is not true. Stay true to you. They often say that you must be hard and rough around the edges to keep up with the boys; you really don’t. You can remain who you are all the while you are kicking butt.
There will be moments that folks may doubt your skills and abilities, you must just keep going. Know your value, anyone else’s opinion does not matter.”
Stansfield’s coach, Eric Hansen, shared, “Mikail has been an amazing addition to the baseball team here at Pinnacle. She not only contributes to the team off of the field, but she continues to amaze me on the field. She is one of the hardest working athletes I have coached. She never complains and is always first to volunteer for anything. Honestly, she is just as tough as all of the boys on the team, mentally and physically. She has been hit with many wild pitches and she laughs as she runs down the baseline. She has improved drastically in all areas of baseball this year because of her work ethic. Mikail also brings a positive morale to the team. Her teammates do not look at her, nor do they treat her, like a “girl,” but they treat her as part of the family. I have been very lucky to coach Mikail and her enthusiasm and energy have helped our team play to their highest potential.”
In addition to playing on the baseball team, Mikail has also served as boys’ basketball Region 19 manager for the past three years.