Redmond High’s Tsujikawa sisters hadn’t played baseball together for a long time, but they rekindled that hardball relationship when Major League Baseball came calling for its “MLB Grit” event.
Mustang senior twins Emily and Lindsay — both pitchers and infielders — traveled to Dallas, Texas, along with 58 other players earlier this month to participate in the inaugural high school baseball invitational for girls.
The three-day event took place at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy during Women’s History Month and included development training, as well as competitive tournament play. Everyone played a game at Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers.
“Playing baseball again made me nervous, but once I got there, I kind of just got back into it and (it was) just like old times. It was fun playing with Emily again,” said Lindsay, who plays first base for the RHS softball team.
The sisters played baseball together from ages 5-13, when Lindsay switched to softball and Emily remained in the baseball realm.
“I was really inspired by Emily since she had played for the national team in the summer, so I’m hoping to possibly try out for the US team,” Lindsay said. “She’s so supportive of me. She always reassured me that I’d be able to come back to baseball and play with her.”
Emily, who pitched three innings for Team USA at the Women’s Baseball World Cup last summer, got in 1.2 innings worth of work for the RHS varsity baseball squad at home against Eastlake on Monday while Lindsay played on the field next door for the Mustang softballers. Both revamped turf fields were unveiled during the Mustang twofer that afternoon.
On “MLB Grit,” Emily reflected: “It was absolutely amazing to play there because I often play with either guys my age or I’ll play with women. I often don’t play with girls my own age. That was a really special experience especially since they were all high schoolers and playing baseball. I usually don’t get that combo together very often.”
Emily said she was thrilled to have her throwing partner Lindsay back on the baseball diamond.
What made the event even more memorable was when the sisters pitched to each other during games. Lindsay laughs when she said they both got each other out during the nerve-wracking experience: Lindsay popped out to left field and Emily grounded out to Lindsay.
“She’s a great player so I was a little nervous facing her,” Emily said of her sister. “Overall I pitched well against her, I didn’t hit very well against her. It was a fun experience to get to face her again.”
Lindsay, who made a couple good plays at third base, said that waking up at 6 a.m. each day was rough, but worth it.
“I met so many girls. It’s so inspiring to see other girls who are playing baseball as well. It’s becoming a bigger thing, and it’s just so cool we connect with them and hear their stories,” Lindsay said.
Pitching at Globe Life Park was another highlight for Emily, who warmed up in the bullpen and then ran onto the field, which was “absolutely gorgeous. The stands are beautiful, it was a beautiful day. It was basically like a dream for me,” she said.
Emily, whose USA team is trying to plan some games this summer, is grateful for being able to play for the RHS team.
While discussing high school baseball with her peers, she learned that, “Many of the other girls were not able to even try out for the high school team. They were denied it or they were treated absolutely terribly. It really opened my eyes about the great experiences that I’ve (had) in Redmond and Washington in general, everyone being open. It was just a great experience talking to other girls. Usually people don’t deal with similar problems that I do, but everyone has gone through it.”