The club team currently has six players and is looking to expand. Credit: Arwen McCullough | Courtesy

When Arwen McCullough looked to apply to colleges, the thought of club women’s baseball hadn’t crossed her mind. 

“I was looking like, where can I play softball?… What [schools] have men’s club baseball?” McCollough said.

But then McCullough, now a recreation, parks and tourism administration freshman, started to see women’s club baseball pop up at a handful of schools, such as the University of Washington, Cal State Fullerton and Occidental College. 

“What’s stopping me from creating a team?” McCullough asked herself.

So she did just that.

Growing up playing baseball, McCullough was usually the only girl on all-male teams.

“It took a while going team to team having to prove myself that I was a good baseball player,” McCullough said. “Whenever I tried out for a [team], guys would throw harder at me, coaches would hit harder ground balls or hit them further trying to test me, seeing if I was a good enough player that I could stand with the boys.”

McCullough recalled one specific moment when her team faced off against another high-level local team.

“Our team was pretty small in comparison,” McCullough said. “They were all really tall and built”

When she stepped out to the mound, McCullough recalls the other team started laughing.

“I ended up striking out the first guy and the shush just went over the dugout,” McCullough said.

However, as McCullough got older it became more difficult for her to compete against boys in baseball. 

“There was a big speed and strength differential and I probably could excel more in women’s sports,” McCullough said. “I went to [women’s sports], and I had a great time even though I did miss baseball and still came back to it in the summers.”

McCullough decided to come to Cal Poly, but she still looked for ways to continue to play baseball even though she was six years removed from organized baseball. 

“It’s tough, because I know so many girls who have great skills but can’t get that playing opportunity because of their gender,” McCullough said. “That’s the goal…give girls that opportunity. There’s something about having that community of other girls who have the same interest as you.”

McCullough’s club baseball team started to come together after posting a Snapchat on the freshman class story asking if anyone wanted to play baseball with her. It was then that she met some of her first members of the team.

Currently, the team has six players, but that number is double what McCullough had on the team at the start of the school year in 2022. 

One of the goals McCullough has for the club is to attend the Women’s Club Baseball World Series, but the team will need to get to nine players in order to participate.

Even if a prospective player doesn’t have any experience, McCullough says they can still come and participate. 

“We have knowledge, and we’ll teach you and start you from ground zero and just build you up and create an awesome team,” McCullough said. “Women’s baseball really is that tight-knit community that is slowly growing.”

The team has already received donations including bats, helmets, balls and gift cards.

As McCullough has built the team up, the club has made major strides, but it’s also been a lot for her to manage. 

“[There have] been a lot of late nights and stressful moments where…I have no one else to rely on,” McCullough said.

At the same time, McCullough knows how much creating a team here would’ve impacted her applying to Cal Poly. 

“If I were applying for colleges and I saw that Cal Poly had a women’s club baseball team, this would be one of the first colleges that I’d applied to again,” McCullough said. “I just want to be that role model for younger girls coming up through colleges and hopefully attract some here to Poly and build that community. I know that I owe it to my younger self to fulfill those dreams, so as tough as it gets, I do just keep on pushing.”

For more information on the McCullough’s women’s baseball team, follow the team on Instagram. To donate, address items to Arwen McCullough at 1872 Pacheco Way, San Luis Obispo, CA 93410.