LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE)- A senior who plays baseball for the Lenoir City Panthers is believed to be the the first female pitcher to record a postseason baseball win in Tennessee.

Her name is Elizabeth Marquez. The senior, better known as Elisa, made her way to East Tennessee by way of California, Texas, South Carolina, and baseball.

“She exudes baseball. It’s her life,” said Elisa’s mother Anne Marquez. “It makes her who she is.”

“She exudes baseball. It’s her life. It makes her who she is.”

Anne Marquez

Elisa grew up playing neighborhood ball with her brothers in their San Diego cul-de-sac. She would draw attention from her neighbors, but not because she was a little girl playing football or baseball, that’s not unusual. But for the way she could throw a spiral or a curveball.

“She would throw a football or a baseball and people would say, “Wow, did you see her throw that ball?’ And I say yeah…she threw a football. Ya know?” recalled Anne Marquez. “And they would say, “No, did you see the throw?”

Anne suggested Elisa should pick up softball, but her daughter insisted that she belonged on a baseball field.

“I love the atmosphere and the competitiveness of the guys,” said Elisa.

She began playing organized baseball at 11-years-old, starting out in Little League and spending summers playing travel ball. Her hard work and dedication to the game led her to the high school diamond. Elisa is homeschooled but under TSSAA jurisdiction she can play for the Panther’s high school team.

“It’s fun putting in work and being a part of the team,” said Elisa. “Playing with these guys is the best part of my day really.”

Lenoir City baseball head coach Aaron Simmons has coached the sport for ten years and is in his second season at the helm of the Panther’s program. Simmons has seen a lot of baseball but has never coached a girl on the diamond until Elisa joined the team in 2020.

I haven’t treated her any differently because there’s no need to,” said Simmons. “She’s the first one in every day, she’s one of the last ones to leave. I have to go push her out of the door almost every single day. She does very well.”

Elisa worked her way into the starting lineup this season as a pitcher and second baseman. On the mound, Elisa has started in six of nine games played posting a 4-3 record. One of those four wins includes a district tournament game against Fulton. TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress commented to his knowledge, that she is the first female high school pitcher to pick up a postseason win.

“She doesn’t let the pressure get to her and that’s what makes her such a good player,” said Simmons. “She thrives in those situations, in that aspect she’s one of a kind, she really is.”

Elisa has struck out 45 total batters through 39.2 innings of work and posts a 4.06 ERA. Her 45 total punch outs are the second-highest team total among Lenoir City’s pitchers. At the plate, the senior boasts a .383 batting average. Elisa has driven in 14 runs on 21 total hits and has crossed home plate 15 times.

Lenoir City High School’s Athletic Director Chris Brittain said he has been around the sport in the city since 1996 and had not seen a girl at the ballpark before Elisa. However, Elisa does not see herself as a pioneer. Instead, she is just another person pursuing a passion and enjoying the journey one strikeout and hit at a time.

“I think Elisa is an example of once you find what you love, to preserve and follow your dream and your goal,” said Anne about her daughter.

Elisa’s goal is to play in the infield for a college baseball program. For now, she is just focused on helping her team make it to the State Tournament.