South Florida

Plantation High’s Madelyn Saven in a League of Her Own

She's heard it all before. Girls can't throw, why are you wasting your time on baseball, why don't you play softball, all the tired clichés come Madelyn Saven's way, and she just hits them out of the park.

"I prove people wrong every day,” Madelyn said, without a hint of anger or exasperation. "Have fun, don't think too much, and just play."

Madelyn, or Maddie as everyone calls her, plays second base and pitches for the Plantation High School Colonels varsity baseball team. She’s the only girl playing high school baseball in Broward County and possibly in all of South Florida.

"Every time somebody else comes to the field they’re like, wait a second, that’s a girl? I’m like, yeah, that’s a girl, she can play baseball,” said Manny Aguilar, Plantation High’s baseball coach.

It could be said that Maddie is in a league of her own.

"I'm always breaking through that glass ceiling, so I think I'm breaking barriers, a lot of 'em," Maddie said.

She's not the type of kid who's born on third base and thinks she hit a triple. Maddie hit .270 this year, a sophomore playing against juniors and seniors. She earned her place on the team.

"She's a ballplayer, I looked past the fact that she was a girl, when tryouts came out, I look for the best, if you can play baseball and you can help my team out, I'm gonna take you," Coach Aguilar said.

"My teammates are great, I mean they’re like a second family to me," Maddie said.

I asked her if there were any issues with her being a girl, any resentment or disrespect or anything to make her feel uncomfortable.

"No, none at all,” Maddie said.

It’s not just baseball, Madelyn’s comfortable breaking glass ceilings academically as well.

"Academically, she is amazing,” said English teacher Betsy Oberlander.

Maddie is among the handful of pioneering girls taking her school’s Building Trades Construction Design program.

"I mean, I don’t really think about it that way, I just, my dad was in construction, I always helped around the house and it’s just something I’m interested in,” Maddie explained.

Maddie is always blazing her own trail. She’s nearly a straight-A student, and she knows she has become a role model for other girls who might be thinking of stepping out of their comfort zones.

"I think I set a very good example because I work hard, every day, and I think they should follow in my footsteps,” Maddie said.

It takes courage to play ball with the boys, to change perceptions about who can play baseball and who can’t.

"100 percent, I agree, and I think she's got it in spades, I mean she’s tough as nails and she can do whatever she needs to do," Oberlander said.

For Maddie, baseball isn't a field of dreams, it's a current reality. She’s always working on her game, with the ultimate goal of being the first woman to play in Major League Baseball.

First, she's busy creating a legacy at Plantation High.

"It would be nice if people know my name, I want to leave my mark," Maddie said.

She already has.

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