This past November, Olivia Pichardo made history after becoming the first woman ever to join an NCAA Division I baseball team roster.
At just 18 years old, she made Brown University’s team as a utility player, meaning that she can play both the infield and outfield come the 2023 season opening.
“It was definitely a surreal moment for me because it’s something that I’ve wanted since eighth grade. It’s kind of crazy to know that I am living out my dream right now and the ideal college experience that I have always wanted, so that’s really cool,” Olivia said in a Brown University press release.
She also spoke about her contribution to gender equality in sports, stating that her entry to the team is “paving the way” for the countless young women who will come after her– encouraging them to dream big and know that they can achieve similar goals.
But besides being a powerhouse ball player, who is Olivia off the diamond? Well, she was born and raised in Queens, New York, is a diehard Mets fan, and is also a part of the USA Baseball Women’s National Team.
So, if you could not have guessed, Olivia grew up having an immense love for the game. In fact, her passion was sparked at just five years old– although it was not smooth sailing from the start.
Apparently, Olivia’s local little league team actually did not have any open spots that year. That reality pushed her to start playing lob ball instead.
Then, the following season, Olivia began working on her pitching and recalled falling in love immediately– even though she admitted that her skills needed some work.
“I remember volunteering to pitch when all of our pitchers were too tired to throw. I had absolutely no control. Hitting batters, throwing it above their heads, at their ankles, behind their backs. But I fell in love with the position,” Olivia said on her website.