Tag Archives: Women in Baseball

The Atlantic League Draft Results, Kentucky Genomes Make History With Alexis “Scrappy” Hopkins

The Atlantic League held their annual player draft on Wednesday (March 23, 2022) where one team, the first-year Kentucky Genomes, made history.

With the 8th pick, the Genomes selected C Alexis “Scrappy” Hopkins.

“Hopkins is expected to become the Genomes’ bullpen catcher and is believed to be the first woman ever drafted by an American professional baseball team for an on-field role.” (MLB.com).

“I’m really excited for this,” Hopkins said. “About two or three years ago in one of my college classes, they said to write down a dream of yours. I was going to put down ‘professional baseball player,’ but I actually didn’t because I was like, ‘That’s never going to happen.’ But I guess here we are today, making a dream come alive.”

Hopkins played high school softball in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., before playing collegiately at Florida Tech in 2017. Her selection in the Draft followed the league’s two-day professional showcase.

“Scrappy handled the pitchers better than most of the guys here,” said Stan Cliburn, a former Major League catcher and current manager of the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. “There were guys throwing 93 to 95 [mph], and she handled it just fine. And she was really good at blocking and picking the ball as well.”

MLB.com

Complete Atlantic League Draft Results Press Release

(March 23, 2022, Viera, Fla.) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball held its annual Player Draft on Wednesday at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Fla. The draft occurred at the end of the two-day Atlantic League Professional Showcase presented by Prospect Dugout.

Hector Guance was the first overall pick, going to the Staten Island FerryHawks who will begin their first season of play in 2022. Guance is a 6-6, 200-pound righthanded pitcher who spent six years in professional baseball including five seasons in the Baltimore organization. A native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, the 26-year old Guance compiled a 22-21 record in the minors, primarily as a starting pitcher.

The second pick went to the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes, another first-year franchise in the Atlantic League. The Genomes traded the pick to Long Island in return for the rights to OF Chris Shaw. Long Island then drafted LHP Cody Beckman with the second pick of the first round.

As new entries to the Atlantic League, the FerryHawks and the Genomes alternated on the first 12 picks of the draft.  The third overall pick by the FerryHawks was RHP Jordan Simpson. Kentucky then selected C Robbie Kellerman with the fourth pick.

Staten Island’s other selections included LHP Anthony Rodriguez (No. 5) and RHP Yohn Zapata (No. 11). The FerryHawks traded away their seventh and ninth selections for players to be named later.

Kentucky selected utility player Will Decker at No. 6 before selecting C Alexis “Scrappy” Hopkins at No. 8.  Hopkins is believed to be the first female ever drafted by an American professional baseball team for an on-field role. In 2008, in a special supplemental Negro League draft to the MLB Draft, the Washington Nationals selected 72-year old Mamie “Peanut” Johnson to mark the first woman ever drafted.

Update: According to Baseball America, LHP Carey Schueler was a 43rd round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1993. While she did not sign, she is believed to be the first woman drafted in a non-honorary role.

The Genomes are expected to offer Hopkins the position of bullpen catcher.

Kentucky added RHP Bradley Hines at No. 10 and 1B Alex Wemple at No. 12 to conclude their first round selections.

Southern Maryland made the ninth selection after obtaining the pick from Staten Island and chose RHP Junior Navas.

Gastonia used the 13th pick in the draft to select SS Kevin Lambert while York picked LHP Adrian Alarcon with the 14th pick. Lancaster chose LHP Josh Smith at No. 15 and was followed by Charleston which took OF Kyle Robinson. Defending Atlantic League champion Lexington picked LHP Darrien Ragins with the 17th pick overall. Southern Maryland added LHP Dario Polanco at No. 18 and High Point picked RHP Thomas Derer with the 19th pick. Long Island passed on the final selection of the first round and all teams passed on the second round.

The Atlantic League teams open spring training on April 10 and Opening Day is slated for Thursday, April 21.

The complete draft follows:

2022 Atlantic League Draft  
Wednesday, March 23, 2022 
PickTeamSelection No. 
1Staten IslandHector GuanceRHP
2KentuckyTraded to Long Island 
 Long IslandCody BeckmanLHP
3Staten IslandJordan SimpsonRHP
4KentuckyRobbie KellermanC
5Staten IslandAnthony RodriguezLHP
6KentuckyWill DeckerUTIL
7Staten Islandtrade to York 
 YorkMatt MeyerLHP
8KentuckyAlexis “Scrappy” HopkinsC
9Staten Islandtrade to So. Maryland 
 So MarylandJunior NavasRHP
10KentuckyBradley HinesRHP
11Staten IslandYohn ZapataRHP
12KentuckyAlex Wemple1B
13GastoniaKevin LambertSS
14YorkAdrian AlarconLHP
15LancasterJosh SmithLHP
16CharlestonKyle RobinsonOF
17LexingtonDarrien RaginsLHP
18So MarylandDario PolancoLHP
19High PointThomas DererRHP
20Long Islandpass

Piagno Makes History, Pacific Association Finishes First Half

Last year, Indy Ball Island reported on history being made in the Pacific Association.

The Sonoma Stompers signed two female players, Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno, last July.

The Stompers’ GM, Theo Fightmaster, assured everyone that it was not just a publicity stunt that would last a few days.

And he definitely proved that by having the women play again this year… giving them a chance to get professional experience playing against men.

That experience paid off as Stacy Piagno made history again on Saturday, July 15th, when she became only the third woman to earn a win in men’s professional baseball since the 1950’s.

stacy piagno.jpg
Stacy Piagno delivers a pitch at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field during her seven-inning, four-hit performance in the Sonoma Stompers 16-1 victory over the Pittsburg Diamonds on Saturday. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

In her third appearance and first start of the season, Piagno pitched seven strong innings allowing one earned run on four hits while recording four strikeouts. She retired her last 11 batters and 20 of 22 from the 2nd to the 7th inning.

“This was a great night for Stacy and a fantastic night for baseball,” said Stompers president and general manager Theo Fightmaster. “This was a start she’s been preparing for, and she validated the opportunity she was given. That was an incredible performance against a very tough lineup.”

The 7 IP and 4 K were both a career high for Piagno as well.

“It’s always a thought in your mind, especially in our situation coming in here as a female, can I really be successful? Can I go deep in the game? I’m not just out here for a hoax. It proves to myself that yes, all the hard work can pay off and yes, I can be successful out here,” Piagno said. 

Whitmore also started the game in left field and recorded her first hit of the 2017 season.

Their manager and teammates are proud of them as well.

“From last year, (Whitmore) was really working to get better and asking to pick everybody’s brain,” said manager Takashi Miyoshi. “She’s a great student of the game… The USA has an incredible baseball culture, but not to women in baseball yet. Like I said to the two girls, they’re going to be the icons of the game,” Miyoshi said. “Coming here, pitching against guys who were in affiliated ball, playing pro ball like three years ago, it’s not easy, trust me… I’m just really proud of her.”

The women certainly feel the love and respect as well.

“This team is my family, in and out. That’s something that I even thought of before the game. These guys are my family, they have my back,” Piagno said.

The Pacific Association wrapped up their first half of the season on Sunday.  Here are the final standings from the first half:

Sonoma Stompers 28-11
Pittsburg Diamonds 21-18
San Rafael Pacifics 17-22
Vallejo Admirals 12-27

The Stompers, who clinched last Wednesday, also set a franchise record for wins (28) in the first half.

The second half of the season begins tonight when the San Rafael Pacifics travel to take on the Sonoma Stompers and the Vallejo Admirals play host to the Pittsburg Diamonds.