By Cassandra Spohn
At twelve years old, Valentina Smith is in a league of her own delivering statistics that would impress the most seasoned ballplayers.
Leading the charge for the Parkland All-Stars Yankees major team, Valentina pitched 22 innings in a series of three playoff games, then ultimately a championship win. Over four games, she struck out 52 out of 66 batters, had two walks, and had only 12 hits against her.
This championship win solidified the Parkland All-Stars’ spot at the district title game on June 19, where they will compete to be the reigning champs of Florida. If they win, the Parkland All-Stars will find themselves one step closer to being on television in August for the Little League World Series.
For six years, Valentina has been the only girl to play for the Parkland All-Stars, but that hasn’t deterred her from playing for the Boca Revolution Travel Baseball Team, where she is one of only a handful of girls in a league. She also plays for the All-National Girl Baseball Team, the Florida Bolts, whose mission is to “empower girls to believe in themselves and keep playing the game they love.”
Pitching and catching for her teams, Valentina is a dual-threat. When asked which she prefers, Valentina’s dad, coach, and former professional baseball player, Kris, gleefully exclaimed, “Pitching! She loves striking out the boys.”
It is Valentina’s dream to play for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas baseball team once she reaches high school. “I want people to know that girls can do what boys can do,” she said.
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- Cassandra Spohn graduated from Otterbein University obtaining her degree in media relations and dance. She moved to south Florida in 2014 and now resides in Parkland with her husband and daughter.
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