To Facemask or Not to Facemask?

It’s a popular debate. To facemask or NOT to facemask? And most folks feel strongly one way or the other.

Caitlyn Ford’s parents didn’t mind their daughter pitching without a face-mask. In fact, she had gone from wearing one to not wearing one, and as innings and games went by without incident, it is easy to begin to get comfortable with how things are. In fact, this article is being written because her mother would like to at least change the fate of one girl on the field, to not have to go through what happened to her daughter. Here is what she submitted on Facebook.

And we APPLAUD the fact, and are grateful that her mom chose to SHARE this story with us. So no bashing required! 


At SIFG, we hear all the time things like, “My daughter has a quick glove,” “My daughter as been pitching for 6 years and hasn’t been hit,” “My daughter thinks a face-mask gets in the way,” “A face-mask is not necessary – baseball players don’t wear them.” Blah Blah Blah! 

We hear tons of folks referencing collegiate players and acknowledging the fact that most of them don’t wear face-masks. We also hear from many folks who have been told that coaches won’t look at a girl who wears a face-mask.

If you have ever witnessed a pitcher or infielder (or outfielder for that matter) taking a line drive or ball to the face – you will definitely rethink your position that face-masks are not necessary.

It may be called softball, but the ball is anything but soft – and coming off a bat made with the specific technology to catapult it at amazingly fast speeds directly  toward players who are only some 25-40 feet away from the batter of whom has likely been specifically trained to transfer all of her energy and power into hitting the ‘soft’ball – sort of means that the advantage goes to the batter. After all, they are the ones holding the bat.

If you haven’t been watching college softball this year, let us give you some insights. Things are changing. In a sport that used to be controlled by the speed and movement of an adept pitcher, more and more balls are being hit. A team doesn’t win because they have the best pitcher in the circle anymore. They win because they can HIT (and HIT HARD) and play defense. More home-runs have been hit in recent years than ever before in college softball. Less batters are striking out. Bats are getting better (you aren’t paying $300 for a bat for nothing) and batters are getting stronger, faster and better trained.

Now, Back to Caitlyn. This is Caitlyn. Isn’t she beautiful? This is her right before pitching her first varsity game as a junior… 



And the following pictures are Caitlyn after that game was ended early for her.

Her  mom said told SIFG yesterday,

“I can tell you that she did not have a concussion and only sprained her ankle and she ended up having to have 2 route canals and 2 crowns to her teeth, and a lot of stitches inside her mouth for her lip.Actually she has appointment Thursday this week to have her permanent crowns put on. She has temporaries right now on she was really upset when this happened because prom was 2 weeks away but her swelling  went down on her face and lip and her black eye went away and her dentist did an awesome job and if you didn’t know what happened you’d never know that she took a line drive to her mouth!” 

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Caitlyn has a great glove. Caitlyn has always fielded her position perfectly. Caitlyn has never been hit square in the face and has always been able to get her hands on the ball. Caitlyn has pitched against composite bats and awesome batters numerous times.

Caitlyn also wears a seatbelt when she gets into the car. Not because her or her parents are horrible drivers, but because they are aware that the potential for danger is there. It’s not only law but common sense. 

It’s definitely a personal choice, but as ADULTS, it is definitely our responsibility to keep our girls safe. At SIFG, we will recommend that all pitchers and infielders wear face-masks. And after seeing outfielders who have lost a ball in the sun get broken noses and broken teeth, it’s not such a bad idea for them either.

In this case, Caitlyn was pretty darn lucky to not have more serious damage than she did. We thank her parents for sharing, and send our prayers for a fast recovery (emotionally and physically) to Caitlyn!

And don’t forget to check out our shirts just for pitchers (Plus lots more) on our webstore. 




  1. Mary Johnson on May 13, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    This was very great information about why girls playing softball should wear safety equipment! I know that its up to the individual, but under these circumstances look what happened to Catlin. She never thought it would ever happen to her! Thank God that her mom shared this with everyone on Facebook! Everyone’s children that play on a Girls Softball Team should take this article very seriously because it could be YOUR CHILD NEXT TIME! May God Bless You Catlin & Your Mother For Speedy Recovery, Thank You, Mary Johnson

  2. Jen on May 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    I can honestly say that I have never made my daughter wear a face mask. Although she is a catcher and has her own this year she has been playing some infield and even pitched. Once the coach decided that he wanted her to take a role in other positions. I went out and got her a face mask and just told her that you will need to wear it in the field no matter what position you play. She did and has. It can happen to any of the girls at any time. We even had a girl this season before a game warming up that was popped in the mouth had to have several stitches. I dont want my daughter have to go through something like that If I can help it. Thanks for sharing the story. I have shared it for all of the girls to read. Im sure that we will see more girls wearing them.

  3. Ellesha Hughes on May 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I too was hit in the mouth with a softball. It broke my top and bottom bone in my mouth and knocked 10 teeth lose. I had stitches on the inside and outside where the seam of the ball split me open. I now have 4 implants and 6 crowns. I had to have over 4 surgeries and get cow bone implanted because it shattered my bones so bad. I too have some very gruesome pictures of that day. I STRONGLY recommend face masks.

  4. Jason Lohrey on May 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    My 10 yo daughter caught a line drive to the face right around this same time. Fortunately for her, she was wearing her cage. I always told her it would still hurt even with a mask but not nearly as bad as it would without. After about five minutes, she was back in he circle and finished the game. Don’t think she would ever play let alone pitch without her cage!

  5. coach keith on May 13, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    thank god she is ok. I always stress face masks. start them young and they will get used to it

  6. Steve Head on May 14, 2015 at 11:53 am

    To be honest, some girls that are in the circle, pitching, should not be there! Their parents think that pitching is the only position that their daughter will play or they get ticked off! Some parents even will start coaching to get their daughter in the position where they want them! Have seen girls in the circle that cannot get the ball to the plate, but, mommy and daddy want their little darling to be the center of attention! They don’t care how it affects the whole team! Sad, but so!

  7. […] Is it safe? Softball is anything but soft, and everything gets harder, faster and more dangerous as the girls […]

  8. […] A few weeks ago, we posted an article on our blog in regard to Facemasks as well from a parent of player who didn&#82… […]

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  10. Mary on July 12, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Are we talking 16 year olds or 12 year olds? I’ve seen awesome 12 year olds lose it….they are still little girls. ….and they still belong in the circle of that is where they want to be. …

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