Marlins RBI softball player wins Jennie Finch Award

August 19th, 2022

In the four years that Major League Baseball has been rewarding athletes with the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award, presented by Arm & Hammer, no winner had ever given an acceptance speech after receiving the honor.  

Until recently.  

Christy Concepcion, a softball player from the Miami Marlins RBI, was so moved when she found out she won the prestigious award at the Softball RBI World Series at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla., that she stood up in front of her teammates and tearfully expressed her appreciation.  

“Thank you so much for the opportunity,” Concepcion said. “It’s hard for me sometimes to be on the field as an athlete and also in school. It’s kind of stressful, but my teammates help me and it’s so fun being with them. It’s the reason I play. Thank you so much.”

The Jennie Finch Empowerment Award, named after the softball Olympian and current MLB youth ambassador, is presented to the top performer four times a year at MLB’s signature youth softball events. Finch is on hand each time to personally announce the winner.

The award comes with a $10,000 college scholarship, courtesy of Arm & Hammer, as well as a trip to the upcoming World Series.

In other words, this is a very big deal. And that concept is not lost on the winners.

“I was so excited and so grateful,” Concepcion said. “I get to use this award to further my education. That’s something that’s really important to me. Hopefully, I’m going to get my law degree, and this just makes everything so much easier.

“I don’t really have a college fund, so getting this scholarship is very, very important. I don’t really have enough money to save up for college, and honestly it’ll make my experience so much easier.”

Concepcion was lauded by her mentors and teammates for being a great leader and example-setter.

“She really wants to be involved in social change and know how to help those who cannot help themselves,” said Sarah Garcia, director of the Marlins Youth Academy. “I can see her coming in on a political track of social change, really getting involved in her community and how she can be a benefit to them. That’s my hope for her in 10 years, that she makes an impact in her community and has taken her journey as an athlete as well.”

Teammate Kelsy Cotayo called Concepcion “the best teammate.”

“She always has my back,” Cotayo added. “She puts her all into it, 100 percent, all the time. Whether it’s her hitting or defense. Not everybody does that.”

“She’s an excellent player, but she’s also an excellent teammate,” teammate Yarializ Maldonado said, through an interpreter. “She’s always there for us, she’s always supporting us whenever we need anything. She’s the first one there to help. She’s just an excellent person overall and teammate.”

The Jennie Finch Empowerment Award, which was created in 2019, honors four girls every year who demonstrate powerful characteristics such as leadership, motivation, commitment, humility and integrity.

The four winners represent these MLB softball-based events: Softball Breakthrough Series, Jennie Finch All-Star Classic, Elite Development Invitational and the RBI World Series. The winners are selected by an MLB-led blue ribbon panel, headlined by Finch.