GASTONIA, NC – Brittany Apgar, 11, of Greensboro, North Carolina has never let the fact that she’s a girl stop her from playing baseball against the boys.
Apgar started playing baseball when she was four. She learned how to play from her father and brother. Eventually Apgar found her favorite position was pitcher, admitting it was the challenge of facing off against different batters that drew her to the mound.
“What pitches you have to throw, who the batters are, what their weak spots are," said Apgar.
There aren’t a lot of opportunities for girls to play on their own baseball teams so she played with the boys. The south paw said she doesn’t mind her opponents doubting her abilities just because she’s a girl. Actually she likes it that way.
"When I warm up, I do it really slow to make them think they can hit me,” said Apgar. “But then when I’m actually playing I do it as hard as I can."
Apgar said she can tell it hurt her opponents pride when they are struck out by a girl. However, she isn’t just any girl.
She was born without a right hand. She’s had 11 surgeries over the years to try and correct her birth defect but never let that stop her from playing the game she loved.
When Apgar pitches, she holds the glove over her right arm, throws the ball with her left then quickly switches the glove to her left hand upon release so she’s ready to field any balls that may come her way.
She’s had a special prosthesis for her right arm when batting.
Apgar admits it was frustrating at first before she was used to the technique but over time she’s perfected it.
Jim Abbott, who was a one handed south paw in the majors, and pitched a no hitter in 1993, is her hero.
“Seeing someone else that has the same condition that I have, is able to still do it, makes me more comfortable,” said Apgar.
A few weeks ago Apgar was invited to play baseball with the Carolina Terminators, an all-girls baseball team that won the first ever national girls baseball championships in Florida in July.
"Handicapped or not, I know she's a good player, and she's a girl and we're happy to have her here,” said Terminators coach Clay Adams.
Their first game with Apgar was ironically the “Boys of the Summer” baseball tournament in at Martha Rivers Park in Gastonia.
“It’s amazing,” said Apgar. “I feel more at home, it just makes me feel like, I had a handicap and I overcame it playing baseball."