CLEVELAND (AP) — Amanda Kamekona, a former star softball player at UCLA, has been hired as a minor league hitting instructor for the Cleveland Guardians. She's the first female on-field coach in team history.
Kamekona will be based at the team's year-round complex in Goodyear, Arizona, where she'll work with the team's developmental players. The Guardians have an Arizona Rookie League team.
The 36-year-old's hiring continues a trend throughout Major League Baseball of teams adding female coaches to their staffs. The Guardians have had women coach mental skills, but have never previously had a female instructor working with players on the field.
Kamekona played two years at Cal State-Fullerton before transferring to UCLA in 2008. She was twice named a third-team All-American selection while helping the Bruins post a 96-20 record in two seaons.
She still holds the school record with eight RBIs in one game. In 2008, Kamekona led UCLA in almost every offensive category with 14 homers, 46 RBIs, 17 doubles and 47 runs.
After college, she played in the National Pro Fastpitch League with Carolina and New York-New Jersey. She later served as a coach at Limestone College and Brevard College, and most recently coached at Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California.
In recent years, MLB has increased its efforts to give female coaches more on-field opportunities. Last season, Rachel Balkovec became the first woman to manage a minor league affiliate when she was hired by the New York Yankees to guide their Class A team in Tampa, Florida.
Also, San Francisco's Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach on the field in a regular-season game when she coached first base during a game against the San Diego Padres.
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