▶ Watch Video: Olivia Pichardo of Brown University becomes first woman to play Division I baseball

Throughout high school, Olivia Pichardo‘s dream was to play collegiate baseball. Her dream came true in a historic way last fall when the 18-year-old outfielder at Brown University made history as the first woman to be named to an NCAA Division I varsity baseball team.

Pichardo was a freshman walk-on, and was not promised any playing time. However, on March 17, she made history again — becoming the first woman to step up to bat in a Division I game. 

As she breaks barriers, she’s inspiring others. Since her tryout, Grant Achilles, the team’s head coach, said there have been a handful of women reaching out to him for a tryout.

“It’s surreal, just because all on my staff did was give Liv a chance to show her talent, to show her abilities. And hopefully a lot of other people are able to benefit,” Achilles said. 

Pichardo hopes to inspire other girls to pursue their dreams.

“I guess I would tell them … they should be playing the sport that they love for as long as they want to play,” Pichardo said. 

Since her earliest memories, the dusty baseball diamonds of Queens, New York, were an integral part of Pichardo’s life. They are where her father, Maximo Pichardo, taught her how to play baseball. 

Maximo, who grew up playing baseball in the Dominican Republic, was eager to pass on his love for the sport to his children. He introduced his daughter to the diamond when she was just four years old, and still keeps her first pink and yellow bat, which now looks tiny in comparison.  

Softball was never a consideration for Pichardo, who developed her baseball skills as a pitcher and outfielder and competed with older boys. In seventh grade, she made the high school boys’ varsity team. Last spring, she graduated high school with a blazing fastball and an impressive 5.2 GPA. 

Her coach, Achilles, characterizes her batting style as highly meticulous and well-prepared.

“She comes to the field with the plan and she’s a contact hitter that wants to put the ball on the ground, spray in the field, and then play solid defense in the outfield,” Achilles said. 

Centerfielder Derian Morphew said he was impressed by how fast Pichardo threw the ball. 

Outfielder Mika Petersen was impressed, too. 

“I hadn’t really played with any girls since Little League, and I was pretty excited to see what she could do out here,” Petersen said.