Softball For Girls, Baseball For Boys? Not So Fast Say These Hard-Ball Enthusiasts


Published: Aug 06, 2022 07:05 AM

Traditionally, girls play softball; baseball is for the boys. But don’t tell that to Newtown’s Sophia Thorsson, Abby Ehrens, and Kacey Attonito — these young ladies prefer hardball all the way, putting them in a “League of Their Own” (1992 movie about an all women’s baseball team). Each of these girls has been influenced by their brothers.

Thorsson, 11, and Ehrens, 10, are youth baseball teammates; both play for the Newtown Dingers.

A second baseman, and outfielder, Thorsson played baseball for the first time in the fall of 2021 and continued this past spring. She has played soccer and tried basketball and field hockey, and is also a red belt in karate.

“I have an older brother who plays and I practiced with him. That’s how I found out I wanted to try baseball,” Thorsson said. “Hitting is my favorite part, and I love cooperating with the team.”

These girls do not feel out of place despite being outnumbered by the boys on the field. Actually, they embrace it.

“I like playing with the boys because most of them are very good at playing baseball and I can learn from them. But I don’t really care if it’s a team of boys or girls, as long as it’s baseball,” Thorsson said. “I would love to keep playing baseball, but would consider moving to softball if I can’t continue playing baseball.”

Silvana Thorsson, Sophia’s mom, said it was of no surprise to her husband Johann and her that Sophia chose baseball over softball due to her interest in brother Noah’s passion for the game.

“She loves to practice with her brother in the yard and spent many seasons watching him play from the sidelines. She tends to gravitate to most things her brother is interested in. They are close in age, so baseball was one of the ways she was able to connect with him. We love watching her play and improve with every season,” Silvana Thorsson said.

Ehrens, 10, completed her second year on the baseball diamond this past spring. Like Thorsson, Ehrens has played second and in the outfield; she has also tried pitching. And, also like her teammate, following her sibling’s interests led Ehrens’ involvement in the game.

“I have always watched my brother play and I thought it would be really fun. He loves baseball and I wanted to try too,” Ehrens said. “The best part of baseball is how cooperative playing baseball is because it’s really all teamwork.

“It really makes no difference because I get along with boys and girls all the same,” she said. “When I am older, if I could get on the teams, I would love to continue playing baseball.”

Her parents, Susie and Tony, support their daughter following in the path of her brother and playing with the boys.

“When Abby told us she wanted to play baseball, we weren’t that surprised,” Susie Ehrens said. “Her older brother Joey has played baseball since he was 5, and she quite literally grew up on the sidelines watching him play all through Babe Ruth, AAU Club team and Newtown High School. He is starting college in the fall. I think Abby and any girl can benefit from playing baseball now or in the future as they get older. It’s really a great sport that the whole family can watch and be engaged in. We have loved all our Newtown Babe Ruth rec and travel team experiences over the years.”

Attonito, 8, plays for a team sponsored by jjStacks. Attonito, a shortstop/outfielder has played baseball for two years and has also done tee ball and gymnastics for a year each.

Having followed in the footsteps (baseball cleat steps) of her brother, Harley, Attonito said hitting the baseball and watching her team play are what she enjoys best about the game.

“It’s fun and a little bit challenging. I like that it’s more challenging,” Attonito said of playing with the boys. “I want to play baseball as long as I can.”

“I was very excited that she chose baseball. She truly enjoys the game and loves the challenge of being the only girl. I also love the tremendous amount of support she gets. She knows what she is doing is different and embraces it and loves the challenge,” said her dad, Joe Attonito. “The families she plays with and against are all incredibly supportive of her being there, which is great to see.”

Softball is a great option for girls, but for those interested in baseball, just look to these Newtown players for inspiration next time they head out to the field.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Abby Ehrens stands in position as she prepares to field the ball.

Sophia Thorsson opted to swing the bat on the baseball field rather than the softball diamond.

Kacey Attonito likes the challenge of playing with boys on the baseball field. Here team came in second in its league this past spring.

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