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Girl pitchers duel in school baseball first

March 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Saturday afternoon, it's history in the making as two girls take the mound of a high school baseball game.

Marti Sementelli of Birmingham High School and Ghazaleh Sailors of San Marcos High School of Santa Barbara will start as pitchers. This isn't the first time Sementelli has been in the spotlight.

We initially met Marti Sementelli as a 6-year-old phenomenon. Now, 12 years later, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

"When she came, I was actually surprised," said Birmingham High pitcher Kevin Torres. "I was like, 'A girl, whoa.' Then I realized, 'Oh, she's pretty good.'"

Standing just 5 feet 1 inch tall, she uses her finesse, much like MLB all-star Greg Maddux.

She's dreamed of pitching success ever since the day ABC7's Rob Fukuzaki introduced her to several Atlanta Braves players 10 years ago.

"I've never seen a girl throw a baseball like she throws, you know, at her age it's not even close," said Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox.

"I love the Bears, I love Chipper Jones," said Sementelli. "I still love him. I got to play catch with him, he thought I was good and how cool that is. I got it on tape, I got his autograph, and it was like the coolest moment ever."

Saturday will be another cool moment. Sementelli will start against her former USA teammate, who's now pitching for San Marcos of Santa Barbara. It's believed to be the first time that two California high school baseball teams face each other with girls as starting pitchers.

"It's a great thing," said Matt Lowry, Birmingham's baseball coach. "I mean, I've never heard of it happening in high school sports where a girl's going to face a girl in an all-boys-dominated sport."

"There are currently like 365 girls in high school playing in California, but none of them have pitched against each other," said Sementelli.

There's a lot of fields full of, dare I say, testosterone. You'd expect an 18-year-old girl to have some uncomfortable moments, but Sementelli really says, Well, they happen almost every day in the bullpen, but she really feels as though she's just got a bunch of brothers.

"They stick by no matter what or if they have a problem -- not that there's any problems, but they are very protective of me," said Sementelli.

It's a modern-day version of "A League of Their Own."