'I'm ready': Kelsie Whitmore to play for FerryHawks

Team USA product signs with Staten Island in historic moment for women in baseball

April 8th, 2022

Kelsie Whitmore has already amassed a long list of baseball accomplishments at just 23 years old.

On Friday, she made history by signing with the Staten Island FerryHawks of the Atlantic League, making her one of the first women to sign a contract with a professional league affiliated with Major League Baseball.

"I'm very grateful and excited for this opportunity to sign with the FerryHawks," Whitmore said. "The culture and competitiveness of this ballclub just feels right to be a part of. I've been working for an opportunity like this my whole life, and I'm ready to get after it and compete."

Competing in baseball has been Whitmore’s life. A member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, she won a silver medal in the 2014 Women’s Baseball World Cup and a gold at the 2015 Pan American Games. She compiled a 1.35 ERA for Team USA from 2014-19. She also hit .348 during the 2019 Pan Am games and will be able to showcase her dual-threat skillset with the FerryHawks as the Atlantic League has adopted the new rule that allows pitchers to be in the lineup as the designated hitter -- the so-called “Shohei Ohtani rule.”

“It feels like pressure, a lot of pressure, but you just change your perspective to embrace that pressure,” Whitmore told Sports Illustrated on Thursday. “... Know that there’s going to be failures that come with it, and understand that's part of it. I’m going to make mistakes; I'm going to fail. And that’s all part of it. And my biggest goal was to come here to develop, and gain knowledge to be the best version of myself.”

Whitmore collected her first professional hit at 18 years old in 2016, a sharp single through the right side for the independent Sonoma Stompers. She pitched for another independent team, the Portland Pickles, last summer. That came soon after she was named the Big West Conference’s Player of the Year in softball for her outstanding play at Cal State Fullerton.

“At the end of the day, Kelsie is a baseball lifer,” FerryHawks general manager Gary Perone said. “If someone loves the game and has proved themselves time and time again, then they deserve to be given an opportunity.

Whitmore and the FerryHawks will open their 2022 Spring Training camp on April 11 and begin their regular season on April 22 vs. the Charleston Dirty Birds.