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Saturday May 21st, 2022 9:27AM

Whitmore retires ex-MLBer as 1st woman pitcher in Atlantic

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — Kelsie Whitmore relieved for the Staten Island FerryHawks with the bases loaded and retired former major leaguer Ryan Jackson on Wednesday, becoming the first woman to pitch in the independent Atlantic League.

Days after breaking another barrier by starting in left field, Whitmore got a chance to show off her two-way talents with two outs in the ninth inning against the Lexington Legends.

Trailing 3-1, manager Edgardo Alfonzo gave Whitmore the ball for the first time in Staten Island's 11th game. She came on to face Jackson, who played 42 games in the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels but hasn't been in the big leagues since 2015.

Whitmore threw a ball and then got two called strikes before Jackson flied out to right field.

Whitmore, a right-handed thrower and batter, went 0 for 2 and was hit by a pitch Sunday, when she became the first woman to start an Atlantic League game. She's also been used as a pinch-runner.

A former college softball player at Cal State Fullerton, Whitmore signed with Staten Island last month, one of several notable moments for women in baseball this season.

Last month, San Francisco Giants coach Alyssa Nakken filled in as first base coach, becoming the first woman to coach on the field for a big league game. A few days before that, Rachel Balkovec won her debut managing the Low-A Tampa Tarpons in the New York Yankees' system, becoming the first woman to skipper a team affiliated with a major league club.

Whitmore pitched and played in the outfield for the U.S. women's baseball team from 2014-19 and spent parts of two seasons with the Sonoma Stompers of the independent Pacific Association.

Atlantic League teams are not big league affiliates, but the circuit is an MLB partner league. It's a step up in quality from the Pacific Association.

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