Dodgers Ball Girl, Former Softball Player, Goes Viral For Play Against Cubs
In the top of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, the Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo smoked a foul ball that tailed towards the crowd down the right field line.
That’s when the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ball girl Karlie Habitz popped up off of her bucket and casually snagged the liner, kept her cool, turned around and tossed it into the stands.
“With that play it was just a normal reaction,” said Habitz, who is in her first season as a ball girl. “I knew going in Rizzo is more of a pull hitter so it was bound to come down the line. He had already hit the ball to me in a previous at bat. I more just saw the perfect read off the bat when it came and timed the catch perfectly.”
Habitz is no stranger to making big plays in crucial situations. She played two seasons at Penn State before transferring to CSUN. In 2016, she was was named the Big West’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“It’s been two years since I’ve played at that competitive level and I miss it everyday,” she said. “Being able to have this opportunity and play under the those Dodger (Stadium) lights is unbelievable and somewhat puts me back in those cleats.”
The former catcher grew up just outside of Los Angeles but has been a Dodgers fan her whole life. When she was younger, she tried to mirror her favorite player and fellow catcher Russell Martin.
“(This job) is a dream come true,” Habitz said. “I’ve been a die-hard Dodgers fan since I was a little girl so having this opportunity and being out on the field with this team is amazing.”
Just after Habitz made the catch, David Schuman tweeted a video of his television. Within minutes, his post went viral and several celebrities liked and/or retweeted it.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” said the CBS 58 News reporter from Milwaukee. “Billie Jean King was the first one and she must’ve been browsing Dodgers mentions because I have no idea how else she would’ve seen it. Then Martina Navratilova and Elizabeth Banks. Her cool reaction also makes a very appealing viral clip.”
Schuman said that most of the reactions on social media have been positive with some people calling for a protective netting down the lines or comments about the fans behind her who didn’t look up from their phones.
“In the moment I didn’t realize,” Habitz said about how she probably saved a life or prevented a major injury. “But when I came home, I saw the replay and the people behind me. I’m glad that there is a position like this to protect the fans. I know sometimes people are distracted by their phones or conversations so I was glad to be there for them.”
The exit velocity of the liner off Rizzo’s bat was calculated around 101 m.p.h. There’s no telling what could’ve happened if Habitz wasn’t there.
“I was surrounded by Cubs fans so they chirped all game,” she said about how the fans reacted to her catch. “But it was with good intent. A lot of people came up and gave me high fives and thanked me.”
So where does this rank in her ball-playing career?
"It’s pretty high up there,” she said. “There is nothing like catching again and throwing people out but saying I caught a line drive shot off Anthony Rizzo just seems so unreal to me and something only a few could say.”
Habitz won’t return to the field at Dodger Stadium again until Wednesday, June 19 against the San Francisco Giants as she only works three or four games a month.
After Softball America asked if she wanted to add anything else to describe the play and the viral reaction she has received, she answered with a simple reply.
“Other than I have the greatest job in the world? Haha not really.”