When Madison Jennings toured the Oxbridge Academy as a prospective freshman last spring, she had her eyes set on playing on the school’s baseball team. She is now a freshman at the independent high school and is the starting shortstop on the school’s varsity baseball team. She is the only girl on the team, and the first female to play on an otherwise male athletic team at Oxbridge.
“She is a varsity-level player, and we are glad to have her on the team,” coach Chad Mills said. “In baseball, the shortstop is responsible for ‘running the infield,’ keeping the other players up on where the next play is. Because she thinks strategically and is a great athlete, she is a perfect fit.”
According to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), girls can play on a boys team in a sport if the school does not sponsor a girls team in that sport.
“Madison is a very intelligent, talented student-athlete and passionate about the game. We are thrilled to have her on our team. She fits right in,” Oxbridge Athletic Director Pat Houlihan said.
Jennings, a resident of Royal Palm Beach, said that baseball has long been a part of her life.
“My dad and my brother both played. I went to his games and cheered for my brother, but I wanted to play, too,” she said.
She loves the rush of playing baseball and the challenge of the game. “I love the stress of the game and the strategy of anticipating plays and how to react to what happens on the field,” Jennings said.
Most of all, she likes the teamwork that is involved. “We’ve created a family on our team,” she said. “It’s just fun to play something you love with your teammates.”