Pitch is hands down one of my favourite TV series, it’s an amazing baseball show about Ginny Baker, who is accepted into a Major League team (San Diego Padres) as a pitcher, making her the first female (and Black) pitcher in the history of the sport. As she begins her career as a professional baseball player, she’ll have to go through the difficulties of being a pitcher in Major League team but also the pressure of being a ‘female groundbreaker’.
It’s a really good show if you’re interested in sports, baseball, or just a good story. If you haven’t watched it, go to Hulu right now and go watch it, then tweet to Hulu because we (and by this i mean me) need a second season.
As I recently rewatched Pitch, it gave me the inspiration for this list. I love sports romances books, for me it’s the best of both worlds, my love for sports with my love for feel-good or angsty romance stories where the heroine is not just sitting in the background cheering or supporting her athlete partner. This list is about those female heroines who are their own driven, headstrong, amazingly athletic main character.
Disclaimer: While I would love to follow Pitch’s influence and only focus on Baseball stories, there aren’t that many BIPoC authored or starring BIPoC. So this list will focus on female athletes in all the following sports: basketball, baseball, volleyball and football (soccer).
One Last Shot by
“I’ve always trusted you with the ball in your hands. But can I do the same with my heart?”
As a professional basketball player, Selena “Sharpshooter” Samuels seemingly has everything going in her favor. Playing for her hometown, playoff-bound team, the Nashville Nymphs. Playing under a knowledgeable coach who she adores. Playing for a franchise that’s well respected and family-owned. But the potential dynasty she’s trying to build comes under threat when a new assistant coach is hired; an assistant coach who she may or may not have had a huge crush on growing up.
DeAndre “Dre” Leonard hasn’t had it easy. After being banned from the league as a player for violating the drug policy, his world came crashing down. But now he’s back and ready to rebuild his reputation, starting with a coaching opportunity with the sister team of his beloved Trojans that includes one of the best women’s players in the game; and arguably the finest woman he’s ever seen.
Selena and Dre both want the same thing; to have a successful season. But as they spend more time together chasing a championship, that shared goal slowly begins to change from a title… to each other.
I love stories where MCs meet their idols, especially one who disappointed them. Selena, basketball star meets Dre, former basketball star now assistant coach of her team, a bit of dislike to lust to love, some misunderstandings, a lot of flirting, a lot of basketball
*This is the second of the Nymphs and Trojans series by Nicole Falls and Alexandra Warren, I wholeheartedly recommend both, but this one in particular features a female athlete.
The Perfect Game
by Elley Arden
Arlington Aces’ backup catcher Ian Pratt lives every day to the fullest, focusing on having fun with the three Bs: babes, booze, and baseball. Life’s too short not to go out with a smile on his face.
For Pauly Byrne, being the only female starting pitcher in professional baseball means she’s determined, deliberate, and always staying one step ahead of the naysayers. Facing a difficult choice, she must decide whether to hang up her cleats to become the first woman to coach an NCAA baseball team or hold on to the unlikely dream of becoming the first to play in the Major League. Either way, she needs to win this season’s championship.
When Pauly’s usual catcher fails a drug test going into playoffs, Ian is thrust into the starting role, where their differences—and an unlikely attraction—threaten to derail their season. Their futures are on the line, but can these two total opposites find enough common ground to win the big game and a shot at happily ever after?
*Pauly, first female pitcher to play in the NCAA, knows what she wants, works hard, meets Ian, flirt, ladies-man catcher, she thinks he doesn’t take things seriously, he thinks she needs to relax, dislike to love, opposites attract, two stubborn people against eachother, cute flirty banter
by Sara Rider
Professional soccer player Jaime Chen is used to hearing the word “no”—she’s just not used to listening to it. Despite her tiny frame, she’s won two Olympic medals and earned the title of Assistant Captain of the Seattle Falcons. And when Sport Fitness magazine decides it wants her for the cover of its annual Bodies of Sport issue, she finally has the chance to prove to the world that she truly is a top-class athlete. But when a lingering ankle injury forces the team’s physiotherapist to bench her, Jaime’s top-ranking dreams start to slip through her fingers.
In his career as a pro sports physiotherapist, Alex Martinez’s instincts have never steered him wrong. But he’s also never met someone as obstinate and frustrating as the snarky Jaime Chen. With their spot in the playoffs on the line, the Falcons’ owner gives him an ultimatum: get Jaime back in the game or kiss his job goodbye. When she skips yet another appointment with him, the only way he can wrangle a diagnosis from the medically-phobic midfielder is to stick to her like a shadow. But getting close to the woman who simultaneously irritates him and turns him on like no other is the last thing he wants to do.
*Jamie Chen, footie player meets slightly grumpy (with a cause) Alex Martinez, she’s stubborn, he’s grumpy, they have a lot of banter and flirty moments, he only wants to take care of her, she wants him to leave her alone (but not really) and just let her play.
Settle the Score/ Hustle Play
by Tara Frejas
Settle the Score
College senior Garnet Figueroa lives and breathes basketball. A reliable asset to her varsity team, she is equipped with the skills and smarts to get the De La Sierra Lady Hunters closer to this year’s championship title. But Garnet soon finds out that her good friend (and long-time crush), cheerdancer Charles Crisostomo, is being cheated on by his girl, and she lets her emotions get the best of her.
Will she be able to come up with a game plan to save herself from heartbreak before the buzzer signals Game Over?
Running on pure adrenaline and working with game strategies is something a basketball player like Garnet Figueroa is trained for. On the court, she is unbeatable. Off the court… that’s a completely different story.
Because falling in love is trickier than a ball game, and Garnet finds herself fumbling over her feelings for Charles Crisostomo. The fact that her attention gets divided between him and rival school hard-court hottie Chris Barcelo doesn’t help. Or does it?
*Two novellas that feature Garnet, basketball player extraordinaire and cheerdancer Charles, bffs to lovers, some misunderstading, many cute moments, an unexpected kiss
by Katrina Ramos Atienza
Patrice Reyes is starting her junior year at the University and she’s convinced it’s going to be the best semester ever. For starters, it looks like this is the year her team will win the regional football (soccer, for you Yanks) championships. Her subjects are looking good, and there’s even a chance she might finally get somewhere with her rock star crush. But a new classmate—arrogant, cold Math nerd ( ’nuff said)—is seriously throwing off her groove. Will she ever get rid of him and have the awesome semester she deserves? Or is there truth to never judging (Math) books by their cover?
*Pride and prejudice remix but with footie and math! what more do you need really! Patrice, witty, fun football player meets cold, slightly arrogant Math nerd Paul, they have to work together, dislike to like, misunderstandings, well you know filipino P&P.
The PreGame Ritual
by Alexandra Warren
Ava knows that she’s the best girls basketball player in the country at the collegiate level.
She knows that she’s going straight the pros once her senior season comes to an end.
And she knows that finding a man is the least likely thing to happen while she’s chasing that dream.
That’s until she meets Miles.
A freshman phenom who has no idea what college life is like but is in for a red-headed surprise with a mean crossover.
Their chemistry is a given, but will age be more than just a number?
Or will the PreGame Ritual be enough to even the score?
*younger basketball player, Miles who is a total flirt freshman phenomenon meets and pursues older basketball player, Ava who is totally taken with him even though denies it, slight age gap, lots of sexy moments, lots of basketball, total power couple to root for 🙂
by Nicole Falls
For the entirety of her life Geffri Robinson has known that being a girl who plays baseball was a novelty. At some point, however, the novelty wore off and she stepped away from playing the sport until a chance exhibition places her at the center of attention once again. With the spotlight shining brightly upon her, Geffri finds herself with an amazing opportunity within her grasp that’s she’s eager to take.
But with all great success comes the trolls—enter Noah Fence, a sports blogger who’s a little too opinionated about how excellent Geffri really is and challenges her to a competition to prove his superiority. Between Noah’s challenge and the opportunity placed before her, Geffri’s calm summer escalates into a whirlwind season of dreams fulfilled.
*Geffri is a talented bit jaded pitcher who meets, Noah, a thinks he knows it all internet troll/sports blogger, sweet, sexy, flirty moments happen but also some proving him wrong 🙂
Once upon a Player
by Agay Llanera
Gorgeous college senior Val Fabian is a player in every sense of the word. She’s the star spiker of her university’s volleyball team, and she never runs out of dates. But it seems that this year, she has finally been bitten by the commitment bug. She sets her sights on an unexpected target–the unassuming yet ultra-cute Jake Clementia. Val is used to getting what she wants, and is sure she’ll snag him before graduation. But in the process of winning his heart, she is sideswiped by a surprise move that sends her tumbling from her pedestal.
*Volleyball and gorgeous star spiker, Val meets unexpected possible business food owner EJ, doesn’t fancy him at first but as times goes by? maybe? funny, cute banter-y moments with a sweet ending.
Kulti by Mariana Zapata
“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”
When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.
It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies. Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.
Most of the books I have recommended here are easily found on Scribd, if you’re not registered you can use my link and get 60 days free while you decide if it’s for you or not.
Do you have any books you think I missed? I’m always on the look for recommendations! And as always be on the lookout for part 2 of this list featuring YA books 🙂