At 11 years old, Zoe Wood is knocking it out of the park — literally!
The Mullica Hill, New Jersey tween recently hit her first over-the-fence homerun not once but twice in the same game. This girl can pitch, catch, hit, and play the field. She’s so good, people don’t even notice the things that make her different from her other teammates.
For one thing, Zoe is the only girl on her team, and she dreams of shattering glass ceilings all the way up to the MLB some day. Another fact that sets her apart is her limb difference. She was born without all of the fingers on her left hand.
Zoe started playing baseball at a very young age, and her hand never posed much of a problem. She learned to accommodate her difference early on, adapting to holding the glove in a way that gives her control of the ball even without the use of fingers. These accommodations are so second nature to her that she doesn’t even think about it.
“When I catch it, I don’t think about it,” she said. “It’s just my instinct to put it there and get it and throw.”
“The way she’s been raised, we never really pointed it out,” said her father, Jeff. “We just treated her like everyone else. We never let it get in her way at all. Zoe has adapted to playing baseball (despite) her limb difference, switching her glove from one hand to another after making a play.”
Zoe says she runs into kids who are curious about her hand, but she simply tells them she was born with the difference. Once they see what she can do on the field, they quickly see her as the strong, talented player she truly is. In fact, it’s her gender that surprises people more than her limb difference.
“I think they’re surprised that I’m playing,” she said. “No one else is really playing as a girl.”
Zoe is “an inspiration for everyone that’s out there,” said her coach, Mike Aherns. “Talent is talent, and it shows up pretty much every time she’s out there on the field for us.”
Zoe proves there’s nothing we can’t do, even if the equipment we were born with doesn’t look exactly like everyone else’s. We can’t wait to root for her when she achieves her dream of being the first woman to play for the major leagues!
Don’t forget to share Zoe’s story to cheer her on.
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