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Sep, 2023

Alcantar Sisters Representing the USA in PONY Girl's Baseball World Series

Justice and Havana Alcantar are two sisters from San Francisco, California. The two are currently in Tochigi, Japan at the first ever PONY Girl’s Baseball World Series. 

Justice is 22 years old and is coaching for the Baseball For All 23u team. She got her start in baseball 19 years ago. “My Dad made sure that my sisters and I had a baseball and a bat in our hand as soon as we could pick them up. He was a lifelong player turned coach so it was only natural that he shared his love for the game with his daughters,” she said. 

“I ended up playing through high school on my school's varsity team because my dad’s love for baseball became my own. I loved the camaraderie and the strategy, but most of all I loved that our family could bond over the game.”

Justice got her start coaching when she realized how much she wished for a female coach, “I wanted to be that positive figure I needed during my early years of the game when I was the only girl on the field to show these girls that they are not alone. Just as my dad spread his love for baseball to my sisters and I, I hope to do the same for female ball players in San Francisco.”

Another big reason as to why she wanted to coach is her dad. “My father is the sole reason I have been inspired to coach. I respect his undying love for the game that he has and how excited he gets at even the smallest of successes that the players experience.”

To Justice, coaching at this historical event means the world. “Not only is the PONY Girls Baseball World Series showing the world that girls belong in the game, but by also having female coaches, this tournament is displaying the various roles women can play both on and off the field. Far too often the narrative around girls baseball pushes this idea that you need to be the best of the best to earn your spot on the field yet. And even then, you will still have parents and coaches coming up to you asking “Why not softball?” which translates to “What is your endgame here?” While boys can simply play baseball for the love of the game, girls seem to need a valid reason for playing. Opportunities like the PONY Girls Baseball World Series are a step in the right direction as they give girls that chance to simply play the game because they want to. Coaching during this event is extremely important as it will allow me to show other girls that if they have a love for the game, there will always be a place for them.”

Justice’s main goal is being a role model for her sisters. “I want to make sure to instill a confidence in them that I did not have at their age playing baseball because I know how much of a difference that can make, especially as a girl on the field. All too often, I hear my sisters say that when they step onto the field they feel like all eyes are on them, but because of this confidence they have achieved, that is backed by skill, the attention fuels them to do better instead of making them feel self conscious. It is my goal to make sure that they will never have to struggle in the ways I did as the only girl on the field.”

Justice leaves this piece of advice, “for the girls out there who are wanting to play baseball yet might be feeling hesitant because of the difficulties the game presents, I have one piece of advice. Baseball in itself is a game of failure, even the best players are coming up to bat and getting out seven out of ten times. But those three out of ten at bats make it all worth it. It is important to remind yourself of this because I know how easy it is to let one bad moment on the field affect our confidence, especially when you are the only girl on the field.”

Havana is 17 years old and will be playing for the 23u Baseball For All team. She has been playing since before she could remember as pitcher, catcher, and infielder. 

Similar to Justice, her dad sparked her interest in playing. “My dad was very passionate about the sport and he wanted to share that passion with me and my sisters.”

Justice is also a big reason she was inspired to play, “growing up I was fortunate to be able to watch justice play and succeed which sparked my interest even more because I was able to see another girl play at such a young age.”

To Havana, playing in this event is a huge honor, “to have the chance to not only play with other women who are extremely passionate about the game, but to be coached by an all women staff is a wonderful experience. It truly shows how far girls baseball has gone and hopefully it goes even farther in the future.”

Not only did Justice inspire her to play, she also is her role model. “My sister justice has always been my role model; she truly paved the way for me. When you grow up going to your older sister's baseball game you see that if she can do it so can you. She has always been very resilient which has pushed me to be the best baseball player I can.”

She has PONY Baseball and Softball to thank for this experience. “Pony baseball is the reason I play baseball, period. I started playing T Ball for my PONY Baseball League and from then on I’ve never stopped. It has given me a great chance to learn about the game of baseball and meet new people.”

Baseball has provided Havana with many life lessons, the most notable being to never give up. “Baseball is just a mental game and it can be very hard to succeed; even major leaguers are lucky to get a hit 3 out of 10 times so there can be a lot of downs. But what I’ve taken from that is how to come back after a bad throw or a bad at bat.”

The quote she always comes back to at the end of the day is “do it for the future of girls baseball.”

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