July 1, 2016 / 5:37 PM / 3 years ago

Minor league baseball's Sonoma Stompers start 2 women in lineup

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kelsie Whitmore will grab her glove and head for left field on Friday while Stacy Piagno will take the pitcher’s mound for minor league baseball’s independent Sonoma Stompers, which will become the first co-ed professional baseball team since the 1950s with more than one female player in the starting lineup.

Jul 22, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; United States starting pitcher Kelsie Whitmore (14) delivers a pitch in the first inning against Cuba during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Ajax Pan Am Ballpark. USA beat Cuba 11-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The history-making game against the San Rafael Pacifics will feature 17-year-old Whitmore and 25-year-old Piagno, both of whom signed with the Stompers earlier this week. [LINK: here]

"But tomorrow? History. @KelsieWhitmore in left. Stacy Piagno on the hill. Co-ed baseball in Sonoma. We'll see you at People's Home Equity," the club posted on its Twitter account (@SonomaStompers) late Thursday. [LINK: here]

Whitmore, a pitcher-outfielder, and Piagno, a pitcher-infielder, are set to play for Team USA in Women’s Baseball World Cup in September.

Baseball fans cheered the move by Stompers on social media.

Justin Lafferty (@jlafferty21) tweeted: “If I still lived in the Bay Area, I’d go to this game. This is amazing.”

NHL Insider Carl ‏(@Based_Ian) wrote: “May have to go see the @SonomaStompers when I go up to SF (San Francisco) in a month.”

Sonoma Stompers made headlines last year when the team’s pitcher Sean Conroy became the first openly gay player to ever play at the professional.

The team was also in spotlight for hiring baseball writers Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller to implement a data-driven approach to evaluating and signing players.

Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by David Gregorio

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