Girls and Baseball
While sifting through some memorabilia, I came across a newspaper article I had written in 1982 for the Iron County Record. For the newbies to the area, the Iron County Record was Cedar City’s local newspaper for many years. Ten years prior to my writing the article, a little girl named Maria Felipe had tried out for Little League and made the team. A court case ensued and the entire league in which she would play was to be disassociated with Little League unless the girl was kicked off the team. Maria did not play ball and by the time the case had been won in her favor, she was too old to play Little League.
By 1982 my husband and I as well as our children were immersed in the Little League and summer baseball programs. This included our girls. Our oldest daughter was one of four girls (Kristin Davis, Carrie Newcomb, Shelly Pete, and Wendy Weaver) playing in the American League while two girls (Valerie Pete and Nichole Smith) were playing in the National League. Amber Murie, Leann Baker and Merilee Tom were playing in the 13 year old league.
Maria’s court case (in 1972) had set a precedence and gradually girls in Cedar City as well as other cities were joining Little League teams. In 1976 Jill Rollo and Paula Sawyer became the first girls in Cedar to play Little League. Jill was 12 years old and Paula was 9. Paula played all four years and was chosen for the All Star Team.
Since 1982 the Little League program has expanded exponentially in Cedar, and even though a few girls choose to tryout for Little League (my granddaughter Javlyn Weaver played baseball with the boys for about four years), most of the girls now choose to play softball in a league of its own.
The Softball Little League for girls got a slow start but is growing steadily. In 2002, under the direction of Gary and Jackie Cowart, Cedar City became affiliated with Little League Soft Ball. Now girls as young as 5 can sign up for Tee Ball while 7, 8 and 9 year olds can play machine pitch and there are 9 teams made up of 8, 9, and 10 year old girls who are playing Little League Softball.
At the present time there are also eight teams of 11 and 12 year old girls and three teams of 13 and 14 year old girls.
Traveling teams for the girls are scarce, but there are a few, and the word is that Byron Linford is in the process of arranging for some girls’ softball tournaments to be played in Cedar City. When this happens it will be the first time for tournaments other than during the Summer Games.
Softball at Cedar High began in the early l990′s mostly in response to the ruling that girls had to be offered the opportunity to play as many sports as the boys. However, at the present time softball has become competitive both at Cedar High and Canyon View.
It’s true, one can no longer think, “Boys of Summer” when hearing the clunk of a bat hitting a ball. The girls are here to play !