EDGEWATER — Regan Lynch is in a league of her own.

She is the only girl on Edgewater’s major division baseball team, but she doesn’t mind.

“I don’t think any sport is just a boys’ sport,” the 11-year-old slugger said. “I think any sport can be boys and girls.”

It’s a fitting attitude for Edgewater’s new recreational baseball program, which returns Saturday from a five-year hiatus caused by the remediation and renovation of Veterans Field.

The program is re-launching with a special focus on girls, who have traditionally flocked to softball teams in other local baseball leagues and seldom mixed with the opposite sex beyond tee-ball.

“They haven’t really been given a chance to play baseball on the same level with the boys,” said Mark Capra, Edgewater Baseball president. “We created a baseball program where they can learn how to play right, have fun and not have a separation between the girls and boys.”

Some 35 girls have enrolled in the program’s tee-ball and minor league divisions this season but only Lynch has signed up in the oldest age group, which includes children in third to sixth grades.

The 5-foot-4 player stands taller than her teammates and has no trouble keeping up.

During a recent practice, she threw a baseball back and forth with a coach with ease, she rarely missed a hit in the batting cage and mingled with the boys.

“She’s definitely not intimidated by being the only girl on our team,” said A’Jahn Huggins, co-coach of Lynch’s team.

Lynch said years of playing on all-male basketball teams got her used to it. She jumped at the chance to add baseball to her roster of sports, which also includes softball and soccer, as soon as Edgewater Baseball offered the opportunity.

“I just wanted to try it out, I like to try new things,” she said. “In the beginning, I think it might be hard and stuff but I think I’m capable of doing anything.”

Lynch’s love for America’s pastime began at Yankee Stadium, where she frequently attended games with her father and found a role model in Derek Jeter. She took up tee-ball at about 5 years old, and when time came to advance to a more challenging game, she transitioned to girls’ softball.

“At the time, I never thought about it, I think it was just automatic,” Nicole Pagnozzi, Regan’s mother, said. “Boys and girls play together in tee-ball and next they jump automatically to a girls’ team and a boys’ team. I never thought she’d play baseball.”

Jennifer Ring, author of “Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball,” said the sport severed along gender lines with the professionalization of baseball in the 1890s and has retained a “manly” patina ever since.

“It was associated with national identity and you couldn’t really have a respectable national sport that girls played, too, so they were just driven out,” she said.

Softball — or “sissy ball,” “nancy ball,” “kitten ball” and “panty waist” as it was derogatorily called — became the feminine version of baseball and is now the most common way for girls to advance in the sport.

Girls typically begin to feel social pressure to segregate about age 8 or 9, and hit baseball’s glass ceiling by 12, Ring said.

“That’s the point where girls are given the strong message that ‘you can’t handle the regulation-size diamond and if your parents have any sense, they’ll get you into the pipeline to get scholarships in softball,’” she said. “That’s a real crushing message to give to girls, and sooner or later they internalize it and they do drop out.”

Anna Maria Gualtieri, Edgewater Baseball board member, said the program is in a unique position to tackle that mentality as it rebuilds from the ground up and has made a concentrated effort this season to recruit girls.

“I feel strongly that girls shouldn’t be told that they should play one sport over another because of their gender,” she said. “I would encourage any parents with girls to give baseball a try, there’s nothing to be afraid of and there’s nothing to be lost. It really sends a priceless message to your daughter that she can do whatever she wants to do.”

Gualtieri’s 9-year-old daughter, Mara, has taken that advice to heart. She began playing tee-ball five years ago, transitioned into baseball in the first grade and has no intention of stopping.

“She didn’t like how big a softball was, the underhand pitching was unfamiliar to her so we encouraged her to stick with baseball because that’s what seems comfortable to her,” said Gualtieri. “I don’t think we’ll put her in softball anytime in the future.”

Lynch said she is treating her first year of baseball as a trial run and would consider continuing to play if she likes it. So far, she’s pleased with her ability to hold her own on the field.

“I’m pretty proud of myself. I don’t feel like the they are leaving me out in any way,” she said.  “They pass me the ball, they’ll hit with me. I don’t feel like they don’t want to play with me so I’m happy about that.”

Though Lynch is not the first girl to play baseball in Edgewater, the program hopes she serves as an inspiration for other girls to step up to the plate in both the minor league and the major league.

“I would love to see them come out but we can’t force them,” Jill Sullivan, the recreation department’s youth activity coordinator, said.

Lynch encouraged girls to approach the sport with an open mind and no fear.

“I just want them to come try it and not be scared,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the worst player on the team or the best player on the team, all that matters is that you’re having fun and you have good sportsmanship and a good attitude.”

Email: shkolnikova@northjersey.com