FOLSOM -- A Folsom teenager is leading the charge for the next generation of women baseball players in the U.S.
Maycen Gibbs has been playing baseball her whole life.
“She grew up playing baseball and that's what she knows and that's where she is comfortable, on the baseball field,” said Maycen’s father, Greg.
She is comfortable as the only girl on her travel hardball team out of Folsom.
“She just keeps at it, even though she's playing against bigger, stronger guys. She keeps at it and she keeps working hard,” Greg Gibbs said.
The 16-year old is getting ready to start her senior year at Vista Del Lago High School.
“I’ve never really known anything else for a long time, until the USA stuff,” Maycen told FOX40. “It's just part of the game for me.”
USA Baseball saw Maycen's talents a couple of years ago and brought her into their development program, where twice now she has attended the Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida.
“It was a lot different playing with all girls but it was a lot of fun,” she said.
“All of the hard work is kind of coming to fruition here and she's really starting to come into her own,” her father said.
Maycen's development with USA Baseball is about to ramp-up quickly. In August, she will go to Texas for a week and after that it's on to South Korea and a tournament.
“I’m really excited to go to Korea,” she said. “The coaches are really good and the team should be good. So, I'm hoping to go out there and compete, and, hopefully, beat Japan.”
Both stints in August will be under the USA Baseball developmental phase for girls. Once Maycen graduates from high school next year, it will serve as her best opportunity to further her baseball playing career.
“The ultimate goal is that I’d love to keep playing but as of right now, I’m not really sure,” Maycen said. “I want to find a way, somehow, to just stay in the game in the future and continue to be part of the game as I get older.”
“She absolutely has the advantage because she's been playing baseball her whole life, whereas a lot of women didn't start playing baseball, or a lot of young girls didn't start playing baseball, at a young age,” said her coach, Mike Hacker.
There are women's professional baseball leagues but none here in the U.S. Women’s professional leagues have taken off in Japan, Australia and South Korea.