New Orleans standout wins Jennie Finch Award

Regina Fletcher recognized for 'humility, motivation, integrity, dedication and leadership skills'

July 7th, 2019

CLEVELAND -- When 16-year-old Regina Fletcher walked into PLAY BALL PARK on Sunday afternoon with her teammates from New Orleans, she never imagined she was about to be the center of attention.

Ten softball teams participating in this year’s All-Star Jennie Finch Classic presented by Arm & Hammer filed onto a small field in the center of the baseball festival, ready for Finch to honor one girl who has stood out above the rest of the players over the past three days. Little did Fletcher know, she was about to hear her name called.

“I was just sitting there with my friends,” Fletcher said. “[When I was called,] I was like, ‘Yeah. Oh wait. That’s me.’”

Fletcher, with a big grin on her face, worked her way through the crowd as Finch announced to the crowd that the young star was receiving the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award presented by Arm & Hammer. The honor is given to a player who embodies humility, motivation, integrity, dedication and leadership skills.

“It’s the best, especially when you’re honoring something that’s an intangible,” Finch said. “Something they can control is attitude, effort. Those are the things that really make athletes stand out. And I love to be able to showcase and just honor what they bring to the table. Not only talent. It’s so much more than talent.”

While Fletcher was still in shock, Finch said in front of the crowd that by winning the award, the 16-year-old won two tickets to the World Series. She’ll be honored on the field prior to one of the World Series games, and a $5,000 check will be donated in her name to the MLB Youth Foundation for softball programming.

“Oh my God. The World Series,” Fletcher said. “I would always watch it on TV. I’m always like, ‘Oh my God, let’s watch the World Series! Or let’s watch the Olympics or a college game!’ I would never go to them. I would always be like, ‘Oh it’s either too far or something. I’ll just watch it.’ But knowing that I’m actually going to be there and recognized for it, I’m pretty excited.”

This is Fletcher’s second year participating in the Jennie Finch Classic and the utility player has also met Finch on a number of occasions at MLB Showcases. No matter how many times she’s in front of her idol, her fandom never dissipates.

“Knowing she personally gave this award to me makes me feel like maybe one day I’ll be where she is,” Fletcher said. “She’s a huge inspiration. Just by the way she talks, ‘Failure has a higher rate than success in this sport,’ and she’s so right. … I’m just so excited and so happy right now. It’s hard to get words out.”

Fletcher’s team from the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy has won all five of its games and will compete in the championship on Monday. The participants on each of the 10 teams are some of the best youth softball players from all around the country, something that Finch still can’t believe she has an opportunity to be a part of.

“I still have to pinch myself,” Finch said. “This is just amazing. I couldn’t be more thrilled and honored just to see the next generation to have this opportunity to be a part of All-Star [weekend] and for MLB to open up the umbrella and welcome them in and to provide an opportunity for these young women to see that they do matter and it is important [to] continue to have huge dreams.”