Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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July 5, 2013

Just one of the boys?

(Continued)

A humble attitude for the girl that even wrestled for a few years in middle school during the down months between baseball seasons. She started when she was 5 and during that time she has been embraced and supported by everyone.

As far as being respected on the field, well, she had to earn that.

Not only as a surprise to her teammates and opponents but her father as well, Whitis was persistent and eventually broke the mold as one of the better players on the field.

Her father, Mike Whitis, coached her for five of the nine years so he knew better than anyone that bringing her into the sport wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. The difference between Gabby and the others was that this ball player wasn’t in the outfield chasing butterflies. She was trying to compete and when she didn’t have games she was trying to get better.

“At first I would tell her she couldn’t compete, every year it seemed like I was telling her it’s going to be the last year. The problem with that was she was a Top 5 player on her team almost every year and she could compete with those kids,” Mike said. “She is tenacious. She wants to go to the batting cage, she wants to better herself. It’s constantly practice, practice, practice. As a 9-year-old she didn’t want to go to practice but she turned it around and matured. Her first love is baseball.”

The unfortunate reality that there is no future in the sport for a female was a hard pill to swallow. While her teammates daydream about their walk-up song and a stadium full of fans cheering them on, Gabby has had to think differently.

“I don’t think there is any accepting that I can’t play in the big leagues,” she said. “I was about 10 when I realized I could only play for so long and this past year I fully grasped that, which kind of sucks. I definitely want a scholarship, though, and a Division I scholarship to a school I like that has what I want to do would be awesome.”

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