By Jayda Evans
The Seattle Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Emily Tsujikawa is one of two high schoolers named to USA Baseball’s 20-member women’s national team.
The Seattle Times
It’s gotta be the accent. That’s what Emily Tsujikawa thinks when she overhears her Hungarian mother tell someone her daughter plays baseball only to be corrected.
“You mean softball,” Tsujikawa recalled a woman telling her mother recently. “They think she’s confused.”
There’s no confusion for Tsujikawa. The Redmond senior has loved baseball since she was a toddler. She’s believed to be the only girl to have played for the school, serving as a starting right-handed pitcher for the junior-varsity team the past two years, and she’ll be vying for a spot on the varsity roster next spring.
But first she’ll compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation Women’s Baseball World Cup in Viera, Fla., Aug. 22-31.
Tsujikawa is one of two high schoolers named to USA Baseball’s 20-member women’s national team in June.
The organization invited her to compete for a spot after participating in the 2017 women’s national team development program. On the Team USA roster, 14 are alumni, including 11 who helped win gold at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Team USA won back-to-back Women’s Baseball World Cup titles in 2004 and 2006, but Japan has won the last five.
“Emily showed a lot of upside as far as understanding pitching and the game’s little nuances,” said Matt Weagle, a former minor-league pitcher who’ll manage Team USA. “She doesn’t show any fear, and I will have no issue getting her right into World Cup play. Right now, I see her as a reliever, but I feel confident putting her on the mound in a lot of different situations. We’re excited to have her.”
Emily and twin sister Lindsay followed their eldest sibling Amanda into baseball. The twins were fierce, ponytailed pitchers on boys Little League teams. But when pressured — as all girls are who show talent in youth baseball — to switch to softball because that’s the girl’s sport, Lindsay made the change as a freshman while Emily resisted.