PITTSBURGH -- Kirsten Zinsser is the Pirates' winner of the annual Honorary Bat Girl contest, which recognizes fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to supporting the fight against the disease.
Each of the 30 Major League clubs is represented by an Honorary Bat Girl, and the winners will be recognized on the field on Mother's Day this Sunday. Since the Pirates are playing in St. Louis on Sunday, Zinsser will be recognized at PNC Park at a later date.
Zinsser, 25, lives and teaches first grade in Arlington, Va., but she is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan. The Penn State University graduate completed her master's degree in special education from George Mason University while working full-time as a teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Arlington.
Zinsser was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy in early December, fertility treatments to ensure that one day she will be able to have children and aggressive chemotherapy, all while teaching.
Despite living out of the area, Zinsser supports Pittsburgh's teams whenever possible, going so far as to decorate her classroom in black and gold.
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and to support the annual "Going to Bat against Breast Cancer" initiative on Mother's Day. Winners were selected by a panel of judges who picked from a group of submissions based on originality, quality of writing, demonstration of commitment to breast cancer awareness and public appeal.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.