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BY DANIEL JEAN-LUBIN | When Hera Andre-Bergmann was 5 years old, she casually threw a stuffed animal across the room to her father. Sometime later, her father signed her up to a beginners baseball program at Chelsea Piers, and later Greenwich Village Little League.
Although Hera had spent most of her life playing baseball, eventually, she became too old to play for G.V.L.L., and because there was no other baseball league she could be a part of, all signs said she would have to transition to softball in order to continue playing the game she loved.
However, she had other plans: She wanted to play on her varsity team at Baruch College Campus High School.
“I realized that if I was going to be on a team, I didn’t want being a girl baseball player to be a novelty,” she said. “So, I started working very hard at my skill — especially as a catcher. I figured if I was good enough, I’d be thought of as just a player — not a girl player.”
Eventually, the hard work paid off as she became the first female to play on her high school’s varsity baseball team, starting as catcher and second baseman all three years of her varsity career.
The reaction from those around her after making the team was mixed. At times, there was shock.
“I got the feeling that some opposing players were surprised that a girl was playing,” she said. “My reaction was just to work harder and get better so there was no question whether or not I could compete at each level. I’d heard stories of other girls playing baseball who were rejected and forced out of baseball or into softball. I wanted to make sure that never happened to me.”
Her perseverance also helped her rack up quite a few pieces of hardware, including Most Dedicated Player, the Public School Athletic League Leadership Award and Student Athlete of the Year.
Now a student at Hunter College, Andre-Bergmann continues to play baseball at a high level. She’s playing for the McAleers in the Pancho Coimbre semi-pro league, populated with former Division I and pro players and based out of Central Park. She is the first woman to play in that league as well.
Last year she was invited to play for the United States Under-21 Developmental Team in Edmonton, Alberta. The ultimate goal for Andre-Bergman is to make the U.S. Women’s National Baseball Team later this year and one day represent her country on the biggest stage.