Jul 31, 2013 7:00 PM by Andrew Masuda
The Central Coast gets a chance to see a true legend in the making. Ghazaleh Sailors, better known as Ozzie, is a female pitcher on the San Francisco Seals, who wrap up a series against the North County Indians in Templeton on Wednesday night.
"I never played softball. I never really wanted to. Baseball was so much fun and I fell in love with it. And this is America and you can do whatever you want. So why not be able to play the game that you love," said Sailors.
At just 5 feet, 4 inches and 130 pounds, Sailors' teammates often tower over her. She just finished her sophomore year as a pitcher for the University of Maine Presque Isle baseball team, a Division III program. She pitched in 10 games and started 3 of them. She went 1-1 with a 7.78 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. She allowed 36 hits, 8 walks and struck out 4.
Sailors is believed to be the first female college athlete to pitch a scoreless inning against a Division I opponent. She also became the first woman to earn a baseball win in the history of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
The Santa Barbara native and San Marcos High graduate feels she has a mental advantage when she pitches against male hitters.
"Usually the other team gets really excited and they're just going to try to swing first pitch. So I get a lot of first pitch outs and stuff. And just staying within myself. Like I know I'm not going to overpower anybody so I'm not going to try to and end up making stupid mistakes, " said Sailors.
Ozzie threw 2 innings and gave up 4 hits and 1 unearned run in the Seals' 11-4 loss to the Indians on Tuesday. She also flew out to shallow right field in her only at-bat.
Sailors, who turned down a Division I softball scholarship offer to play baseball, admits it's been a bumpy road during her career.But she's persevered to honor those before her and to inspire those who may follow in her footsteps.
"There's a lot of girls before me who did probably better than I did and didn't get a fair chance. So I'm kind of blazing their paths. But at the same time I want to play this game because I love this game and you should be able to do what you love if you work hard enough for it," said Sailors, who helped the USA Women's Baseball Team win a gold medal in Venezuela in 2010.
Ghazaleh says she started playing baseball at the age of two when her 5-year old brother's t-ball team needed an extra player.
To help keep her in shape during the school year at UMPI, Sailors joined the cross country team last fall and was part of the nordic skiing team in the winter. During the university's Athletic Awards Banquet back in May, Sailors received the "Al Arman Award" for the student-athlete on campus that "truly has made a difference within athletics and/or the campus community."
The Indians close out their season against the SF Seals at 7pm on Wednesday at the Vineyard Athletic Park. First pitch is at 7:05 pm.
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