OWENSVILLE, Ohio – For more than 10 years, current Clermont Northeastern (Ohio) freshman Olivia Bricker has been playing baseball with the boys on various teams. Now, she suits up in a different uniform: the one worn by CNE’s junior varsity baseball team.
“There’s nothing in the rules that says she can’t play,” CNE athletic director Mike Kirk said. “A female student-athlete can play high school baseball, but a male student-athlete can’t play softball. That’s where the OHSAA draws the line. She’s the first female baseball player I can name at CNE. The odds are good she’s the first one the school has ever had.”
By most accounts, she’s acquitted herself well.
According to CNE’s varsity baseball coach, Don Gullett, Jr., she’s started every junior varsity contest either in the outfield or on the pitcher’s mound. He also said she’s one of the better players on the team.
“She’s fundamentally sound,” the coach said. “From my perspective, she’s just like every other player on the team who is trying to impress the coaches and make varsity. She has her ups and downs, like every player, but she’s playing well.”
Obviously, it’s too early to tell if Gullett will pull her up at some point this season to see how she does against varsity competition. Although, a group of freshmen have seen time on varsity for the Rockets.
The coach said she’ll be in that pool of freshmen players receiving consideration for varsity experience as the season moves forward.
“If she continues to develop and get stronger, I can’t see why she couldn’t play at the varsity level for us at some point.” Gullett, Jr. said.
According to Kirk, the last he’d heard, Olivia’s dream in the future is to continue her career and play women’s professional baseball.
“We’re all about the kids,” Kirk said. “Whatever path she chooses, we’re going to do everything we can to support it.”