Stacy Piagno Is No Novelty Act, Pitching For The Win In Men’s Pro Baseball

Stacy Piagno is special. Shes not just a woman playing baseball with men, but shes putting in official work and getting genderless results. 

On Saturday, Piagno,  a member of the United States women’s national baseball team which won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and pitcher for the independent Sonoma Stompers squad, pitched seven innings, surrendering only one run and four hits in the Stompers’ 16-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Diamonds. She also recorded four Ks and retired the final 11 batters she faced.

Shorty was dealing and social media was watching. 

Sonoma Stompers on Twitter

T5, two out: Piagno’s third strikeout of the night https://t.co/QanwbGZIgS

Piagno became just the third woman to win a men’s professional game since the 1950’s, with only Ila Borders and Eri Yoshida coming before. 

“This was a great night for Stacy and a fantastic night for baseball,” Stompers president and general manager Theo Fightmaster said in a news release about his pitcher who struggled last season, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in eight games. “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.”

Piagno played college softball at the University of Tampa. On July 23, 2015, she threw the first no-hitter in womens baseball history at the Pan Am Games, in Toronto, masterfully defeating the Puerto Rican team while showing her ability to pitch effectively at a high level.  

In June of 2016, the professional Sonoma Stompers, one of the teams in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, signed her to a pro contract. 

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(Photo Credit: Twitter)                                                           

“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?”, Piagno said after the historic performance. “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.”

We all remember the movie A League of Their Own. That was about the first professional womens baseball league that was started in 1943. When World War II threatens to shut down Major League Baseball, Cubs owner Walter Harvey persuades his fellow owners to bankroll a women’s league. There have been other attempts to start and maintain womens professional leagues over the years, but these talented women have gone under the radar. Playing against men is the only way for female athletes in certain sports to gain the respect they deserve. 

Minor-League Team Signs 2 Women to Play America’s Pastime

Stacy Piagno and Kelsie Whitmore are the newest players to the Sonoma Stompers, where a barrier was splintered like a broken bat.

Piagnos performance is a huge gain for women who have aspirations of playing in male-dominated sports. In fact, she wasnt the only female balling with the boys and finding success this weekend. 

Kelsie Whitmore started in left field and collected her first hit of this season. Piagno’s male teammates are also showing how attitudes towards women playing pro sports and competing against men have changed. 

Twenty years ago, these women may have been isolated in the locker room, ridiculed and unwelcomed. Now they get ice baths and the boys don’t mind having to change in another location in the locker room. It seems to be all worth it. 

Sonoma Stompers on Twitter

Ice in @StacyPiagno’s veins… Ice on her jersey https://t.co/9Sdj1sEVi7

While the independent leagues are a long way from MLB, it is still considered professional baseball, but its the level where you find, troublesome talent, long shots, novelty acts and players with circuitous and unorthodox baseball journeys. 

Piagno, who made two relief appearances before getting her first start this weekend, is none of the the above. Shes a woman that plays baseball and apparently does it damn well. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.