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Belgian player makes trek for Breakthrough Series

June 14, 2019

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Charlotte Meert’s path to Vero Beach, Fla., for the second-annual MLB Girls Breakthrough Series took longer than most. The event -- which is hosted by MLB and USA Baseball -- is a girl’s baseball development program that features over 65 players from 20 states, Washington, D.C.,

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Charlotte Meert’s path to Vero Beach, Fla., for the second-annual MLB Girls Breakthrough Series took longer than most.

The event -- which is hosted by MLB and USA Baseball -- is a girl’s baseball development program that features over 65 players from 20 states, Washington, D.C., and three international countries.

Meert, 15, is one of three foreign players who made the trip, and it took her over 4,000 miles to do so. But jet lag pales in comparison to the challenge Meert already overcame: becoming the only girl on Belgium’s 15U National Boy’s Baseball team.

She, however, sees it differently.

“That can be a bigger challenge for the boys, to be better than a girl,” Meert said. “They want to be stronger, faster than a girl. But we will see that on the field.”

That unwavering mindset is being put to the test this weekend against some of the world’s best female baseball players. She admitted the Americans on the team have a talent advantage because baseball is “more famous” in their country than hers, which allows them more practice time at younger ages.

But Meert plans on soaking in as much information as she can over the weekend, so she’ll be ready to dominate when she gets back home.

“I will take all the things the coach says, then take it back to Belgium and do it better,” said Meert.

The Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series is a groundbreaking amateur development camp designed specifically for girls baseball players. Held at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla., the event features elite instruction, insight and exhibition games.

In addition to the on-field instruction, participants will be treated to a series of experiences, including a discussion with MLB executive Billy Bean, followed by a Career Chat with female front office Marlins employees at Marlins Park.

The group will also attend a game at Marlins Park between the Marlins and Pirates.

The Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series is an extension of the Baseball Breakthrough Series established in 2008, and it is completely expense-free for participants.

Baseball came into Meert’s life when she was six years old, after her parents put her into a skills-training program. She played basketball before that it but didn’t enjoy it; baseball was the opposite.

Meert’s parents have been more than supportive of her throughout, despite Belgium not having an extensive baseball history. In fact, they were how she got on the Breakthrough Series’ radar. They found out about the event, then contacted its recruiters in hopes of landing their daughter an invite. Their efforts paid off.

The trip to America is Meert’s first, and she’s enjoying it to the fullest -- like the dinner plates she’s seen thus far.

“America is a lot bigger than Belgium,” Meert said. “Everything is bigger: the food is bigger, drinks are bigger -- so that’s amazing."