SONOMA, Calif. – After a successful week at the USA Baseball Women's National Team Trials in Cary, North Carolina, former Sonoma Stompers players Stacy Piagno and Kelsie Whitmore were named two of the 20 players to the 2018 Women’s National Team roster.
Piagno and Whitmore became the first female teammates on a men’s professional baseball team since the 1950’s when the Stompers signed them in 2016. Piagno went on to become just the third woman to win a game in such a league last season, when she pitched seven one-run innings against the Pittsburg Diamonds.
Whitmore has been on the Team USA roster since 2014, while 2018 will be Piagno’s sixth year on the roster.
“I’m most looking forward to playing against Japan,” Piagno said. “The past few cups, we’ve come in Silver next to Japan, we’re all kind of waiting to get back on the field and prove ourselves. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to win a gold medal.”
Piagno pitched in one game at the Women’s National Team Trials, starting and winning the second game of the series for the Stars team.
Whitmore saw action in 15 games as a Stomper, taking 23 at-bats and scoring two runs.
“Kelsie the most selfless player that I've ever played on a team with. She's always wanting to learn,” Team USA teammate and Arizona State softball player Jade Gortarez said. “That's one of the reasons she enjoyed her time in Sonoma, having the opportunity to learn the style of professional play. She's really one of the better players at making adjustments in-game."
In four at-bats in the Trials series, Whitmore went 3-4 with a double and RBI, also walking once in the three games. She also took the hill twice, throwing two innings and striking out two batters as a member of the Stars team.
Whitmore and Piagno will return to the National Training Complex in North Carolina August 16 to practice in anticipation of the VIII WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup, August 22 to 31 in Viera, Florida.
“It’s really crazy how much women’s baseball has grown, just even in the past couple of years,” Piagno said. “With me and Kelsie coming out to Sonoma, I think that got the word out and that opened a lot of doors some girls. MLB and USA Baseball have been hosting a lot of developmental series for younger girls and we’re starting to create opportunities for them to play.”
Since she last suited up for the Stompers in 2018, Piagno coached in the Trailblazer Series with MLB and USA Baseball.
"It's cool because you see other girls who are just like you and create lifelong friends from that,” Piagno said. “And it's cool to share your life with them. Everybody has a little bit of a different story, but in the end they're kind of all the same.”
“To have the opportunity they did to play in Sonoma, I think it was great for them,” Gortarez said. "Kelsie and Stacy show what girls can do, that if you're good enough, you can play at that level.”