Ridgefield baseball program’s first girl pursuing behind the plate

Natalie Evans playing multiple roles for school’s program


Natalie Evans, a junior at Ridgefield High School, is pursuing her passion for baseball as the first girl to play for the Ridgefield Spudders baseball program.

Evans said she has always had a bigger passion for baseball than softball. With the Spudders, she suits up as a catcher for both varsity and junior varsity games while managing in the dugout.

“I love the dynamic of the game and how it’s played, as opposed to softball,” Evans said. “I never really connected with it as much as I did baseball … [Playing] baseball or softball has never been an option for me. Like, in my mind, it’s always just been baseball, and I never even thought about playing the other game at all.”

As a catcher, Evans loves being involved in every pitch, being a leader on the field and seeing everything happening on defense.

“You get to be able to lead the guys to where they need to go, what needs to be happening, where is a play being held and really just the dynamic of constantly being involved in the game as it progresses by every single pitch,” Evans said about her love for playing catcher.

While managing in the dugout of varsity games, Evans brings her passion and knowledge of the game to use. She is often scouting the opposing team, helping coach Nick Allen call pitches, warming up the next pitcher in the bullpen and going out to catch between innings if the catcher is still putting their gear on.

When Evans is scouting an opposing team, she is looking at hitter and pitcher tendencies. While scouting a hitter, she notes where they hit and what pitches they prefer. She watches fielding, including the opposing catcher.

Evans said she doesn’t feel fully accepted by the team members, and only five have made her feel completely welcome, but she does not let that get to her.

“Not really being involved in some of those team aspects are challenging, but it can’t take me away from my passion and my love that I have for the game,” Evans said. “That doesn’t stop me from playing the game that I love at all. It gets difficult, but I faced so many challenges playing this game. It’s just another roadblock in the way that you tackle.”

Being from New York, Evans went to a lot of Mets games, despite her mom being a pure Yankees fan, she said.

“We had a house-divided concept, but she took me to opening day 2009 when Citi Field opened …” Evans said about how her love of baseball grew and evolved to where she was finding something related to baseball to occupy her time with and wearing whatever baseball related.

Outside of Spudders baseball, Evans is a leader in the Baseball For All girls nonprofit organization. She is a captain in the program and helps manage some of the girls baseball programs and advocates for what can be done to enhance the game of baseball for girls, Evans said.

“I might be the first here, but I’m definitely not the last,” Evans said of her history at Ridgefield High School.

The Baseball For All program has allowed Evans to experience life opportunities others have not. She has coached girls baseball in Hawaii and has even played in Japan.

“I was on the 23-U team, and I played in the World Series. I played Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Chinese Taipei,” Evans said.

When she played in Japan, she caught, pitched, played second and outfield, she said.

“It was really an opportunity to see how girls baseball is just around the world and how baseball is played because it’s a completely different dynamic than here.”

The game of baseball has provided so much to Evans’ life, she said she will forever be grateful for the opportunities.

“I love traveling, and I love baseball, and so that combines my two favorite things together and makes something that I love … It’s been an eye-opening experience and definitely opens my eyes in diversity ways, as well,” Evans said.

Evans believes more girls will play baseball nationwide and in Washington in the future based on what she has seen as a member of the Baseball For All organization.

“I’m the first here, but I’m definitely not the last, and there will be more and more girls coming through this program, you know, throughout the years and in Washington and they will be doing all of the great things,” Evans said.

She advised girls interested in the sport to “get in the weight room, take care of your body and continue the passion that you love.”