Just one of the guys

But Jessie Smith not the first girl to play baseball for Meeker High

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Meeker High School's left fielder is like every other guy on the team -- except she's a girl.

Jessie Smith loves sports. Like most of her teammates, she started with T-ball and graduated to other sports the schools or recreation district offered.

Now a junior, she's the only girl on the Meeker High School varsity baseball team.

"Being a girl on the team doesn't really come up that much, especially with the team, but these guys are my friends," Smith said. "I've been playing with some of them my whole life. They're supportive, and we have fun."

Smith is not the first girl on the high school team. Last year, there were two other girls. She said most of the schools in their league are used to the idea of a girl playing ball and more willing to accept a co-ed team.

"Once in while, there are smart cracks, but it doesn't really bug me. I think some people are just ignorant and, besides, I stay focused on my game," she said.

Head baseball coach Andy Coryell said Smith truly is just another member of the team. This is Coryell's first year as head coach. He said that in the beginning, he wondered about the dynamics of the team with a girl as one of the players.

"After the first 10 minutes, I don't think I've given it a second thought," Coryell said. "She does everything the guys do as far as training. She works hard and does her best, and she has fun. She's a great kid," he said.

Lisa Darrow, Smith's mom and a huge fan, said her daughter has always loved sports and never let being a girl stop her from doing anything.

"I don't think she sees being a girl as something that should limit what you do. She is very competitive and thrives on playing the game," Darrow said. "She has to be aggressive and tough. And she has had her share of the scrapes and bruises," Darrow said.

Darrow has no doubt that if girls' softball were offered in Meeker that Smith would rather play softball.

"But this is a small school, and we don't have enough kids, so if you want to play you just go with what you have," Darrow said.

Smith also plays volleyball and basketball. She said she likes baseball but her passion really is basketball. She earned an honorable mention at the regional conference this year. She plays point guard and is a 3-point shooter.

"Now basketball," Smith said, "that's my game!"

Smith isn't thinking too much about college at the moment, but if she decides to go, she plans to look at schools that have good sports programs for women -- and athletic scholarships.

"I don't really know what I want to do, but I think I will always want to play some kind of ball game," she said.

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