Female baseball player creates a league of her own

Chloe+Leotta+%E2%80%9924+is+the+only+girl+on+Riordan%E2%80%99s+JV+baseball+team.

Talia Bumanglag '24

Chloe Leotta ’24 is the only girl on Riordan’s JV baseball team.

By Talia Bumanglag ’24  , ARCHBISHOP RIORDAN HIGH SCHOOL

This year at Riordan has been nothing less than historic. 

Sophomore and JV second baseman Chloe Leotta ’24 made history as the first girl to ever play on the baseball team at Riordan, and has shared her passion and love for the game. 

        Leotta has loved sports from a young age, and started playing softball at 7 years old. Now, she has continued her sports career at Riordan playing multiple sports. Though she is an avid softball player, this is her first year playing baseball; she has also played volleyball for Riordan. 

        “I was inspired to play sports by my parents who put me in many different sports when I was younger. My coaches really helped me learn to love the game and continue playing,” Leotta said.

        She spoke about her experience on the team saying, “Being the first female baseball player at Riordan and the only girl on the team feels incredible and unreal at times. I never thought I would be stepping on the field with all boys and competing at the high school level.”

Talia Bumanglag ’24

        “Of course though, it comes with doubts and feels like a lot of pressure sometimes,” she added.

        Junior Varsity Baseball coach Lee Mauga talked about having a girl on the team and said, “I definitely wanted to treat her like she was a part of the team (beforehand), and definitely didn’t want to treat her any differently because she was a girl.” 

        “She impacted the team to where a lot of the guys wanted to push themselves more. She definitely pushed the players to better themselves and pretty much step up their game. She works really hard to better herself, and pushes herself in a male dominated sport. I mean, it’s baseball,” Mauga added.

        James Peakes ’24, one of Leotta’s teammates, talked about having a girl on the team for the first time, and said, “I thought it was cool (Chloe being on the baseball team) but I was also neutral. I have had girl teammates on my team before in little league and one of them was the best on the team.” 

        Although being the only girl on a boys team can feel intimidating, Chloe does not let the pressure get to her, and is able to stay grounded by the people around her. 

        “My family, friends, and coach have helped me a lot by encouraging me, constantly checking on me, and being there for me whenever I need anything.”

        This is the first official, full year of the Riordan’s girls sports program, and though there are already many female athletes at this school, Chloe, along with many other trailblazers, are paving the way for even more girl sports teams. 

Talia Bumanglag ’24

       “I think Chloe inspired a lot of female athletes to come out and play, because like I said, it’s a male dominated sport, and Chloe came out and she got some playing time. And for the most part, she was in the running for the starting position at second base. So if Chloe’s pushing the guys to be better, for sure she’ll be a good leader for her team,” Mauga said.

        This is one of the many big steps Riordan has taken in having more girl-inclusive sports at Riordan, and many others believe this as well. 

        “I think it is especially with Ashanti [Dias] who played football, it inspires girls I think to try sports that they normally wouldn’t try due to it being very male dominated,” Peakes said. 

        Riordan currently does not have a girl’s softball team, but with help, Leotta hopes to inspire more girls to play. Leotta said, “One of my goals for high school has been to make a softball team and to create a good culture within the sport. Hopefully, next year this will be made possible.”

Talia Bumanglag ’24

    The team marched on through the season with every win and loss, and Chloe’s impact made noise around the school.

        “Being in a male dominated sport, it took a lot of courage to just step onto the field. I hope by playing I will inspire other girls to take a chance and try something new, even if you don’t know how it will turn out.”

This story was originally published on The Crusader on May 23, 2022.