Anjalayah Mays started out playing T-ball, then gave up baseball for approximately six years before returning to the diamond.
Now entering eighth grade, the Mountain View resident is drawing notice for her play on the field.
In the spring, Anjalayah was invited to Major League Baseball’s third annual Trailblazer Series for promising young female players. MLB invited 96 girls, ages 11-13, to Compton for a weekend of training, presentations and, of course, baseball at the MLB Youth Academy.
“It was exciting,” Anjalayah said of the event, held the weekend of Jackie Robinson Day. “At first I was nervous because I didn’t know people’s skills, but it was exciting to see people from all over with all different skill sets.”
Participants – hailing from throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada – were divided into eight teams. The coaches came from several pro baseball leagues. Speakers included members of the U.S. Congress and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, made famous in the movie “A League of Their Own.”
Anjalayah described her experience of playing with and learning from other females at the Trailblazer series as “encouraging” and “inspiring.”
Anjalayah, who plays first base, doesn’t play with many girls on her club team with Delta Baseball; most of her teammates are boys.
“The atmosphere is different,” she said of her Trailblazer experience. “The boys weren’t unsupportive, but playing with girls felt more comfortable.”
Anjalayah, who is home-schooled, isn’t the only member of her family to play America’s pastime.
“At first I played because my brothers were playing and I looked up to them, but then it also became something really fun,” she said. “It’s an amazing game, overall.”
For Anjalayah, baseball is about “being part of a team and feeling the support of the other players,” she said. Anjalayah added that the team atmosphere at the Trailblazers series was the best part of the weekend.
“It was inspiring and different,” she said. “It made me happy to see that there were so many girls who wanted to play like I do.”
Anjalayah also praised the coaches – whom she called “amazing, inspiring, funny, helpful” – that she worked with over the weekend. She said they taught her to “experience the play more – the game inside the game. It’s a lot more complex than it looks.”
As Anjalayah advances in baseball, she hopes to meet other young girls interested in baseball.
“I got to learn so much more about the game,” she said, “and so much more about what we were doing as females playing the game.”
Anjalayah, who has no interest in switching to softball, said she hopes to play baseball well into high school.
She also offered some advice for other girls who want to give the game a try.
“Go out there and do it,” she said. “Just believe in yourself, have perseverance and have fun.”