Nicole S. grounded out to the pitcher, but she made history.
Accompanying a Seattle baseball team on a visit, Nicole became the first woman ever to bat a hardball at San Quentin State Prison, which was established in 1854.
Holding her baseball bat high and wearing a burgundy jersey with Seattle pasted on the front and No. 5 on the back, Nicole played in a Sept. 15 exhibition game and faced Mike Kremer, San Quentin’s A’s civilian sponsor, and worked the pitcher to a 3-0 count.
Kremer throw an off-speed pitch which Nicole smacked, cracking the bat. The ball rolled down the third baseline, forcing Kremer off the mound to retrieve the ball and throw Nicole out at first.
“I didn’t have cleats on. I think I would have beat the throw,” Nicole, a designated hitter, joked, sporting red low-top Converse.
Nicole’s at-bat was just one of the firsts that took place on San Quentin’s Field of Dreams. The Seattle team was the first out-of-state team to play within the prison. The visitors battled the home team A’s in a three game series from Sept. 12-15.
The fourth game was the exhibition event where both teams mixed lineups to show solidarity.
The teams fought to a 5-5 tie in game one, which was called due to nightfall. In game two, the A’s destroyed Seattle 14-0. A’s pitcher Rob Polzin nearly threw a no- hitter, but a Seattle bunt by Ladell Steffey wiped out that milestone.
In game three, the A’s were still on fire and routed Seattle 10-3.
“We knew we were going to come in and get quality baseball from them,” Seattle Coach David Steele said. “Programs like these can help manage their (prisoners’) behavior. If we truly want to create a correction facility, then we need to create an environment to correct.
“If all the teams in our league behave like this inmate team, we would have a much better time playing them.”
The Seattle squad consist- ed of members from several different teams belonging to the Seattle National Adult Baseball Association. Some players took the 13-hour drive from Washington and others flew in for the contest.