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Home Run Happiness

Play softball, was the advice she always got. Baseball's for boys. But Shawna had other plans.

Ms. Baseball is a success!

Ever hear of the Tacoma Raptors? The Florida Orange Crush? The Detroit Danger? Well, you will. They're women's elite baseball teams, and they're everywhere.

They weren't always. Back in 1998, there weren't any women's baseball teams in the metro Detroit area, much to the disappointment of Shawna Macurio. She'd played pretty much every sport, starting with ice hockey at age 5. Then came softball, basketball, soccer, badminton and football. But she loved baseball ever since her first trip to Tiger Stadium at age 4.

Around that time she noticed boys were playing Little League. No girls, huh? "That was my first memory of thinking I should be out there," Shawna recalls.

Later, her dad lobbied for her to join the high school baseball team, but the coach refused. So Shawna channeled her athleticism into ice hockey. She played in a women's league and two coed leagues. And there were pickup baseball games around the neighborhood, where she'd leave any guy who doubted her absolutely stunned by her skills. "I love proving people wrong," she laughs.

Then one day in August 1998 she came across the website for Michigan women's organized baseball. There was no Detroit team, though. Determined to play the game she loved, Shawna started one. Through flyers, a website (she's a graphic designer by day), and word-of-mouth she found her first dozen players.

Twelve years later the Detroit Danger has given many women and, through outreach, girls, the opportunity to play regulation baseball.

Shawna isn't done changing people's perceptions of women ballplayers. "I believe the stereotype will be overcome but we still need to keep battling," says the pitcher, catcher and infielder. "I'm extremely passionate about growing this sport and breaking down barriers."

Shawna's Tips

1. Don't take no for an answer.
I made my dream happen no matter what.

2. Get a good team. 
Enthusiastic players make all the difference.

3. Cover all the bases.
It's the best way to make sure your venture's a home run.

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