Attagirl: Paloma Benach steps up to the plate

Maren Dunn

Freshman Paloma Benach is just like any other member of the Wilson boys JV baseball team, except for one thing: she’s not a boy.

Benach started playing little league baseball when she was six years old, and quickly fell in love with the sport. When she was in seventh grade, she made Moose, the travel baseball team associated with Wilson. “I always knew I wanted to play high school baseball,” Benach said. Being on Moose has helped her to reach that goal. Moose coach Willard Polston III, who is also the Wilson varsity baseball pitching coach, noticed her talent then, and again at tryouts. He says, “I noticed Paloma as a player because she was a fierce competitor and talented lefthanded pitcher.”

Benach has also tried playing softball, which is often thought to be the sister sport to baseball. “I tried it when I was in third grade. I didn’t like it. Then I tried it again in middle school, but didn’t like it. So I figured I’d just stick with baseball,” she explained.

Benach said her experience playing on an all-boys team has been all positive. “It’s not that big of a deal,” she said. “Our area is pretty inclusive, so it hasn’t affected me.” She also added that she played with older, male teammates on her travel team, so playing on the Wilson team wasn’t much of a change.

Benach pitches and plays first base for Wilson’s JV Black team, which is mainly comprised of freshmen and sophomores. “I get a really good amount of playing time,” she said. With a .364 batting average, 6 RBIs (runs batted in), and a pitching record of 2-0 with nine strikeouts, Paloma has proven to be a valuable asset to the team.

Her play thus far has garnered attention from teammates and coaches alike. “She’s tearing it up,” says junior first basemen Woodfen McLean, who played for the JV Green team this season. “She almost always has a positive attitude and is a good teammate,” says Zach Wall, outfielder, who plays on JV Black. Her coach, Gideon Siff, is full of nothing but praise for her. “The only thing I can really say about Paloma is that she is an absolute beast on the baseball field.” He added that, “We [the coaches] are thrilled to have Paloma in the program and are excited to watch her improve her skills over the next three years.”