Jesalyn Zimmerman of Pierre is the only girl on her U12 baseball team. She plays many positions, but says that pitching is her favorite. (courtesy photo)

Pierre’s Jesalyn Zimmerman is blazing a trail for girls in the Pierre area doing what she loves.

Zimmerman, who turned 13 years old in May, plays baseball on a U12 team that recently won the Capital City Baseball Association BankWest Tournament in June. She has been the only girl on her baseball team for the past five seasons. According to Zimmerman, playing baseball with the boys feels different.

“It feels different, but I can still fit in with my teammates,” Zimmerman said. “They don’t treat me any differently than anyone else.”

Erin Zimmerman, Jesalyn’s mother, said watching her daughter play a sport she likes feels good.

“You’d think there’d be a difference in genders, because it’s a boys sport, but they’re really good to her,” Zimmerman said. They treat her just like any other teammate. If baseball is what she wants to do, I’ll support her.”

Zimmerman plays many different positions in the field, but she said that pitching is her favorite. Other than baseball, Zimmerman participates on the bowling team. Bowling is also a co-ed sport. Zimmerman said the way she’s treated by her bowling teammates is also very good.

Because she is 13 years old, next season will see Zimmerman jump up into the Post 8 baseball program at the Teener level. She will be the first girl in the Post 8 program since Raven Cummings in the mid-2000s. Before that, Ashley Dunwoody and Amanda Hammer played baseball in the 15-16 teener team in the early 2000s. No girl has played on either the Post 8 Junior Legion or Varsity Legion baseball team, instead opting to play softball, which Zimmerman said she has thought about.

Zimmerman has high aspirations as it pertains to baseball.

“I want to play professional baseball someday,” Zimmerman said.

Whether Zimmerman chooses to continue playing baseball is up to her. Whatever the case may be, she could very well pave the way and inspire other girls to follow in her path.

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