co-owner Kate Mitchum reached a big personal goal this summer when she was chosen by her teammates to play in the Midwest Suburban League All-Star game.
The weekend of the All-Star game in July was made doubly special because it was the same weekend her father, Charles Mitchum, was inducted into the Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Kate grew up in upstate New York in an athletic family. She always loved baseball and played Little League t-ball as a child.
“I wanted to continue playing Little League, but they said ‘Girls don’t play baseball.’ So I quit and grew up playing soccer,’ Kate said.
After high school, Kate moved to Chicago to study theater at Columbia College and she also completed the Second City program.
“I liked acting, but I knew it wasn’t my passion. What I was really interested in was to compete more at the physical level,” she said.
Kate, 30, started playing on a women’s baseball league when she first moved to Chicago in 2000. She met her fiancée and business partner, Tony Feo, through baseball. Feo, co-owner of Go Hardball, has been active in MSL for many years.
“Tony has been in the league for almost 16 years and people think that’s how I got in. But I went to a tryout, just like everyone else, and got drafted," she said.
Kate, a pitcher and outfielder, started playing in the men’s league in 2006, but it took some time before she found a team that would treat her as an equal. In her first three teams, she didn’t get a lot of opportunity to play. She is on the Cyclones now and said it’s awesome.
Although she had hoped to make the All-Star team at some point, she wasn’t expecting it to be this year. She said she was excited, but nervous, about the reaction she might get from the male players, especially her former teammates.
“I didn’t want the players to say ‘Why is she here?’ But that didn’t happen. Some of the guys said ‘It’s cool to see you here,’ ” she said.
At Go Hardball, Kate, Tony and staff work with players as young as 4 through adults. Kate’s diverse clientele include a woman in her late 30s who always wanted to learn to play baseball, a 9-year-old girl who is on a baseball travel team, as well as Little League and high school baseball players and softball players.
Kate is also a certified American Council on Fitness (ACE) personal trainer and she is the only Combine360 trainer in the area. Combine360 is an advanced athletic assessment and training system.
Go Hardball trainers work on all the fundamentals of baseball training, but also offer digital video analysis. The video assessment allows players to compare their hitting or pitching next to famous major leaguers.
Go Hardball also offers DVDs of players that they can use a showcase for college recruiters.
For more information check out the Go Hardball website.