With two balls, no outs, and the Dodgers up 11-3 over the Diamondbacks in the top of the eighth, it was Downey resident Emily Gregorio who would make the play that everyone in baseball is now talking about.
Gregorio has been involved in America’s pastime for most of her life, as she played in local ponytail and travel ball leagues growing up, and went on to play Division 1 ball for the Cal State Long Beach Softball Team. Last year, she became one of the first ball girls in Dodger franchise history.
Now, Gregorio has caught the attention of hardcore and casual fans of the game alike, thanks to some fast reaction and a quick glove.
The play itself was fairly routine for Gregorio.
“Pretty much I saw it right off the bat. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s coming in hot,’” said Gregorio. “I didn’t really think about it and reacted instinctively and just stuck my glove out and hoped for the best…I don’t think much was going through my mind.”
What set this play apart, however, was the unsuspecting fan (and his beer) that were in the ball's cross hairs. Luckily for this fan, Gregorio made the snag before any harm could befall him or his adult beverage.
According to Gregorio, plays such as this one aren’t as common as the ground balls or soft-liners that usually come her way. According to her, the ball was officially clocked in at 108 mph off the bat.
Gregorio’s spectacular save drew a rousing ovation from those in attendance. Even legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully commented during his broadcast, saying “She just made a great play on that foul ball. Got the loudest roar in quite a few innings.”
The play has now gone viral throughout sports media and news outlets, many of which are praising the actions of “Emily the Ball Girl.” Gregorio hopes to use this exposure for a positive cause.
“I dream of breaking down gender barriers…,” said Gregorio. “…From my perspective I just want to encourage young ladies out there who maybe see me out there to set a good example and, you know, show them that girls can do just as good as guys, and it doesn’t matter – you should be able to have that opportunity as well. That’s what I really wanna take out of this situation is just inspiring other young ladies that may see me…”