‘I think it’s the greatest game in the world’: Anchorage baseball player wants girls to get out and play

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 10:57 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - West Anchorage High School baseball player Athena Clendaniel is a dual-threat on the diamond, playing first base and pitcher for the Eagles. This summer, she made history by becoming the first girl ever to play for the high school’s varsity baseball team.

“I’ve actually never tried softball,” Clendaniel said. “I played baseball my entire life since I was 5, and I think it’s the greatest game in the world.”

The sixteen-year-old said she preferred pitching in baseball over softball. The left-handed pitcher admits she doesn’t overpower hitters but loves to keep them on their toes.

“I don’t throw super-fast but I throw a lot of off-speed pitches,” Clendaniel said. “That’s what works for me.”

Her father and coach Allen Clendaniel said his daughter was inspired by former Eagle River High School baseball player Lauren Frost, who went on to play softball at Stanford University.

Inspired to do the same for a younger generation, Clendaniel organized the Anchorage West Little League Girls Day, hoping to spark interest in the game with other girls. The event was held on July 11 at Lyn Ary Park for girls age 5-12.

“It was super great introducing girls to baseball,” Clendaniel said. “Letting them know that baseball is an opportunity for them, and they can play baseball if they want to.”

For the past two years, Clendaniel has traveled out of state to participate in the Baseball for All Nationals, a girls baseball tournament held in Maryland.

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