When people think of female baseball stars in Philadelphia, there is just one name that comes to mind: Moné Davis. Perhaps that will now change with the emergence of Janiya Victor.
An infielder for Batram High School (Philadelphia, Penn.) in the Philadelphia Public League, Victor is a back-to-back recipient of All-Public League honors, voted as the coaches second team shortstop for the American Division squad. As reported by the Philadelphia Tribune, she’s the only female voted to an All-League team for the second straight year.
According to Victor’s coach James Ockimey, the shortstop has been one of his most reliable and talented players since she emerged on the scene at a tryout two years ago. Because Victor is also a standout basketball player at Motivation High School (Philadelphia, Penn.), for which Ockimey is also a coach, he was familiar with her athleticism. That didn’t mean he was ready for her advanced skills on the baseball diamond, however.
“She was better than any infielder I had at the time and that I have right now,” Ockimey told the Tribune. “She swings a pretty good stick. She bats second in the lineup. She’s batted second for two years. She hits the ball well. She hits line drives. She hits in game situations.
“Her fielding is excellent. Her hand-eye coordination is spectacular. In fielding your hand placement is always around the ball, that’s her. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re never apart.”
Victor was ready to make an instant impact on the baseball scene because she grew up playing the sport in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, before returning to Philadelphia, where she was born. In fact, here’s video of a younger Victor driving in a walk-off run when she was still living in St. Thomas.
Now she’s trying to balance basketball and baseball, just as Davis has done before her. And Victor plans to play both at a travel and AAU level this summer. That’s certainly enough to keep her busy, and another step toward establishing herself as the next great female crossover athlete in Philadelphia.