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First girl lands spot on Coral Springs Charter’s varsity baseball team

The Coral Springs Charter School freshman is on her way after making the Panthers varsity baseball team. She is the first girl in school history to do so, according to coach Charlie Fine.

“It’s a really big honor to be on the team,” said Maston, 14, of Coral Springs. “I have been working hard my whole life and this is really big for me.”

Maston has been at the school since the seventh grade and played on the junior varsity team the past two years before making the jump to the varsity. When there are no varsity games, she will play in a junior varsity game or work in the batting cage.

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“It was a really fun experience playing in my first varsity game,” she said. “My team and coaches were really helpful and made it as comfortable as possible for me. My coaches support me and have my back on everything, so I don’t feel any pressure being one of the few girls in the county to play baseball.”

The 5-foot-8-inch, 115-pound lefty is 1-0 this season with six strikeouts in three innings of work. She’s allowed five hits and hit two batters. Maston has allowed three earned runs and has a 7.00 ERA.

She picked up the win in relief against Northeast when she tossed one inning and gave up one earned run, allowing two hits and a walk. She struck out 2 in the 10-6 victory.

Maston tossed one scoreless inning in a 7-0 loss to Monarch where she walked one and struck out the side. She also allowed two earned runs in one inning of work against Taravella. She allowed three hits, walked one, and struck out one in the 11-1 setback.

Fine said Maston was a welcome addition to the team.

“There have been no issues at all,” he said. “Just like the coaching staff, all of the players treat her like just another baseball player, which is what she is and how we view her.

“She was good enough to make the team because we feel that she can help us just like everyone else we keep,” Fine said. “We have had some girls try out in the past before. We saw her play and we thought she could help us out this year. We were very happy with that and felt she could help us out on the varsity level and maybe someday defensively and at the plate as well.”

He said based on her age Matson is a plus fielder, a plus hitter and a plus pitcher.

“I think the level of competition helps elevate her game with whatever she is doing,” Fine said. “We play a very competitive schedule and we play a lot of very good teams. Within our district alone there are four major league players who will be drafted this year and that is who she is competing with.

“She is the first girl in Charter history to get any varsity innings or varsity playing time,” he said. “She also plays junior varsity baseball when she is not playing for us (varsity). At the end of the day, we view it as a whole program and she needs to get her innings in whether it is down there or with us. We definitely feel she is someone who can help us at the varsity level and she has already.”

Fine noted they also have an eighth-grader, Christina D’Agostino (OF/2B), who plays on the school’s junior varsity baseball team and is also a member of the school’s softball team.

Coral Springs Charter freshman Kate Maston, right, shares a moment with Deerfield Beach High School junior Janelle Calvet before their game on April 1 at Cypress Park in Coral Springs. (Gary Curreri/Contributor)

Maston was among four girls from Broward County that participated in the inaugural Trailblazer Series, a first-of-its-kind girls baseball tournament in 2017.

The event at the MLB Academy in Compton, California took place in conjunction with Jackie Robinson Day. It attracted about 100 girls, age 16 and under, representing 20 states across the country as well as Washington, D.C. and Canada. In addition to Maston, Janelle Calvet (Deerfield Beach), Maddie Saven (Plantation) and Jessica Prieto (Pembroke Pines) also played.

Calvet plays for the Deerfield Beach High School baseball team, while Saven has since converted to softball and signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Chipola College. Prieto turned her talents to singing and music.

Maston said she’s considered playing softball for the Panthers, who have won five straight state titles (2015-19) and hope to add a sixth this season.

“I have thought about going out for the team, but I want to continue to play baseball as long as I can continue to keep up with the boys,” Maston said. “I want to go as far as I can. My goal is to play major league baseball. I am going to have to work really hard and trust my coaches. They know what is best.”

“I hope to play in the field and bat in a game next year along with pitching,” she said. She also ignores the comments about playing on the boys’ team. “It doesn’t really phase me anymore because I am used to it. I have to trust my defense when I am pitching. I try to feel as relaxed as I can knowing that my defense is going to make a play for me.”

Coral Springs Charter junior ace pitcher A.J. Prendergast, who leads the team with a 5-0 record and a 0.63 ERA, said Maston does her job.

“Sharing the mound with a girl is something new,” he said. “It has nothing to do whether she is a guy or a girl as long as she gets the job done, just like the rest of us.

“I didn’t have an issue with her trying out, as long as she got her work done, I was fine with it,” Prendergast said. “She is definitely a hard worker and she has helped us as a team.”

Alfred Duncan

Alfred Duncan is a senior editor at The South Florida Daily, where he oversees our coverage of politics, misinformation, health and economics. Alfred is a former reporter and editor for BuzzFeed News, National Geographic and USA Today.

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