French girl aims to play in 2017 Classic
HOOFDDORP, Netherlands -- Melissa Mayeux is one of a kind as the only girl amongst 79 young men. The fact that Mayeux is participating in the MLB European Elite Camp has been huge news, especially in Europe. Sitting at the news conference between Major League greats Barry Larkin and Steve Finley, the 16-year-old is relaxed and open about her ambitions.
"I just finished the minicamp in Germany, and now I want to make a next step this week in Amsterdam," Mayeux said to the Dutch media.
"First of all, she's a great athlete, and very coachable," Finley said. "It says something that she's immediately been accepted by the boys."
Mayeux's resume is impressive. She plays shortstop for the French U-18 team, and she competes on the French senior softball team.
"One of my goals is to make the French squad for the 2017 World Baseball Classic," Mayeux said. "And of course, to play in America."
Mayeux grew up just outside Paris, and she started playing baseball at the age of 3.
"I was inspired by my brother David, who is two years older than me, and who's playing for the French national team," Mayeux said. "Until I became 15, I only played baseball. Then, I combined it with softball.
"In France, especially in youth teams, the boys and girls play baseball in the same team. Although, I also play softball now; and in my country, all the girls end up playing only that game. Baseball has always been my first choice. I still have no doubts about that."
Mayeux is proud MLB selected her as the first woman to participate in the MLB Elite Development Program.
"It's great that MLB is giving me this opportunity," Mayeux said. "Now, I want to get the maximum out of these camps with so many great coaches and so much talent surrounding me.
"I hope to make some important steps as a player this summer. I have talent, but I must become much better to get to the French squad for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. If that works out fine, then the chance of playing in the United States becomes bigger -- that's my big dream."
When asked if she'll try to play baseball in college or beyond that, a big smile emerges.
"Let's put it this way, I want to get everything out of it," Mayeux said. "Maybe that's college or university, maybe not. Maybe I can surprise everyone."