Sports

Baum returns to Florida to take part in Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series


Courtesy of MLB
Jamie Baum takes part in a pitching drill at last month’s Girls Breakthrough Baseball Series in Vero Beach, Fla.

Jamie Baum took a break from basketball last month to participate in the other sport she loves to play – baseball.

The rising junior at Los Altos High was invited to Florida to take part in Major League Baseball’s Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series.

“It was really fun,” Baum said of the amateur development camp, held June 14-17 at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach. “I learned a lot.”

Nearly 70 high-school-age girls from throughout the country – and beyond – got the chance to work with players and coaches from the U.S. Women’s National Team and former Major Leaguers. Baum was among 16 girls from California, including seven from the Bay Area, to receive an invitation. She attended last year’s inaugural event as well.

“It was similar (to the first one),” the pitcher/infielder said, “but the competition level was definitely higher this year and it was more fun.”

After a day of evaluation, the participants – who included players from Canada, Puerto Rico and Belgium – were divided into teams for drills and games. Baum’s squad went 4-0.

“The best part was that we won all our games,” she said. “That was really fun.”

Baum contributed to the cause in an array of ways. Showing her versatility, she not only pitched, but also played shortstop, second base and third base.

“I played really well this year,” she said. “I pitched three innings and had four strikeouts, I hit well (five singles) and didn’t make any errors.”

Along with the wins, Baum enjoyed receiving instruction from the likes of Ila Borders – the first female pitcher to start an NCAA baseball game – and former MLB hurler Fernando Arroyo.

“It was cool to learn from them,” Baum said. “I’ve met Ila Borders before, and it’s fun to learn from her because she’s a pitcher like me, and it was cool to get some tips from Fernando Arroyo.”

Baum also met big-league executives at a Miami Marlins game the players attended one evening. The Career Chat featured female front-office employees from the Marlins and Kim Ng, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball and softball development.

“The panel was awesome – Kim Ng is a really cool person,” Baum said. “It was cool to learn that even if you don’t play (for MLB), you can still be a part of it.”

Baum hopes to be a part of Los Altos High’s varsity baseball team next year. After pitching and playing the infield for the junior-varsity team last season, she was pulled up to varsity for the Central Coast Section playoffs.

“I didn’t get to play,” Baum said, “but it was cool to be there with the guys.”

Those guys included brother Ryan – the team’s top pitcher – who graduated in June. The siblings have been training together this summer when Jamie isn’t busy with basketball. The point guard is playing on Los Altos High’s summer league squad and also for the West Valley Basketball Club.

“I hope to play basketball in college,” said Baum, who has started for the Eagles’ varsity team since her freshman year.

Baum will switch back to baseball in late August when she joins an 18-and-under team from USA Baseball for a weeklong international tournament in South Korea. At 16, she’s among the youngest players on the team.

“I’m excited,” said Baum, who aspires to make the national team next year. “I’ve never played other countries before.”

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