Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 13, 1976 · Page 160
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 160

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 13, 1976
Page 160
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Page 160 article text (OCR)

' ' ' ' ' " ' . ·· ·· ..' · ... . : - . . . ; *-^' ··'.--·-- ^ '""·· v--Vr ..:_./^;/- _ Her turn at bat: Can" Cohen, TO, prepares to slug the ball for the Phantom lets in Great Neck, N.Y. Girls are winning acceptance by boy teammates. 's Best Friend Kim Pomeranz, 9, guards third base for her league team in White Plains, N.Y. by Herbert Kupferberg I: WHITE PLAINS AND GREAT NECK, N.Y. he midget league game between the Hong Kong Chefs and B and C Service Station teams was all tied up at 5 lo 5 when Chef right fielder Tracy Silva, 10, stepped to the plate with two out and the bases full. Tracy took one called strike, then singled sharply to left just over the shortstop's head, driving in the winning run. As the crowd cheered, Tracy's mother, Mrs. Carol Silva, said: "Tracy is a good hitter. I knew she could do it." She? That's right, fellows. The right fielder is a girl. Tracy Silva is one of the thousands of American girls who have been enthusiastically invading the ranks of a previously all-male sport during the last two years. The Little League organization, whose national headquarters are in Williamsport, Pa., has been admitting girls aged 8 and up to its teams since the 1975 season, thanks largely to decisions by state Human Rights Commissions and other governmental bodies ruling out sex bias in athletic competition. Tracy's team isn't part of the official Little League, though it follows pretty much the same rules. It's a member of the White Plains Recreation Youth League, which has some 1300 players, about 60 of ihem girls. The girls play side by side with the boys, usually one or two to a team, taking their regular turns at bat and in the field. Says Joe Wray, who runs the program in White Plains, a New York City suburb: "At first some of the boys weren't too happy about the girls coming in. But in the second game of the season a girl went four for four, and that kind of changed their minds." Jennifer Walker, a 10-year-old outfielder for a team sponsored by Le Shack, a local restaurant, says she isn't too sure of how glad some boys are lo see girls on the squad. "Most of the time they ignore you," says Jennifer. "They do talk to you when you're up at bat, though. They say, 'Get hit with the pitch.'" Takes her base In one game Jennifer actually was hit on the leg with a pitch, but insisted on hobbling down to first to take her base. "I tried to take her out," says the Le Shack coach, a 33-year-old White Plains businessman named Steven Prince. "I suggested to her that she sit out an inning or so. But she fought back her tears and said, 'No, Mr, Prince, I want to run.' She's a player." Similarly, 9-year-old Sorelle Stabler, left fielder for the Phantom Jets team in a recreational league lhat plays in Allenwood Park in Great Neck, Long Island, just over the New York City line, suffered a broken nose when she was hit in ihe face by a thrown ball while standing on the sidelines at her first tryout. Sorelle marched around in a cast while the nose healed. Six weeks later, she was back in Ihe lineup. "I think she has n lot of guts, more than I would have had at her age," says her mother, Mrs. Leslie Stabler, who comes to all the games. "She's scared, but she's determined. She didn't let it end her career." Add to folklore Incidents like these are already building up a kind of folklore of girls playing in the Little League. It isn't quite like the recent Paramount movie Trie Bad News Bears, wherein Tatum O'Neal plays the part of a star girl pitcher, and Walter Matthau a beer-guzzling, cynical manager. Neither the Great Neck nor the White Plains leagues have yet uncovered a girl pitcher, let alone a Tatum O'Neal. But they're already beginning to spin yarns. Like the time that a manager waved to a girl center fielder, trying to get her to move her position --and she waved right back to him. Or the time a girl who'd been playing the outfield all season asked for a chance to move in closer. When the manager told her, "OK, next game you can play infield," she said, "Great! Where is it?" Girls have also added a distinctive touch in costuming, some of them finding that a little jewelry is no detriment to a baseball uniform. Ten-year-old Cari Cohen plays first base for the Phantom Jets wearing barrettes and earrings.Alex- andra Schultheis, 9, chomps her bubblegum in right field with a bracelet adorning each wrist. Great Neck umpire Eddie Schanars, a New York City sanitation employee continued 13

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