Olivia Pichardo Makes D1 History
November 22, 2022
By Tamar Chalker
The news over the last few days outside of baseball has been rough, so I've been missing the distraction it brings a little more than usual. Despite it being very much still early in the offseason, a baseball-related news story popped up Monday that gave me something to smile about. Queens native Olivia Pichardo was named to the Brown University baseball roster as a walk-on, making some history in the process.
Pichardo tried out for the team as a utility player, putting time in at middle infield, outfielder, and pitcher. She clearly made an impression, because she was named to the team yesterday and became the first woman to make a Division 1 baseball roster. Having spent the last few years involved in MLB youth programs, Pichardo has played for the USA Women's National Baseball team.
The Queens native has played baseball since she was five and has been focused on playing collegiate baseball, despite the division. After being accepted to Brown, she couldn't pass up going to the Ivy League institution. Having spent most of her life being the lone girl on boys' teams, she was prepared for a team that might not accept her, but instead was greeted by a lot of support.
Head Coach Grant Achilles stated that " Olivia put together the most complete walk-on tryout I have seen from a player since becoming a head coach.” When he announced that Pichardo had made the team, her new teammates responded with cheers and applause, which even surprised her.
While I don't think you can expect to see her playing in the MLB (though I'd love her to prove me wrong), baseball in some capacity will likely be her future. She's already spent time working as an intern with the Mets' scouting department. She could very well be on the path to being the next Kim Ng or Rachel Balkovec.
What I love most about this story is that I remember being that girl who wanted to play baseball, not softball, but when I signed up for little league the town just automatically put me on a softball team. Part of me wanted to fight that, but I was eight and the new kid in a new town after being in South Korea for a couple of years. I always kind of regretted not fighting it, but I grew to enjoy softball and played it through college.
Still, the fact that girls now have the opportunity to play baseball through MLB youth programs and local programs makes me happy. Who knows what the future holds for this Brown freshman, but Olivia Pichardo is already breaking barriers and I look forward to seeing what she does next./