Girls League Celebrates 25 Years Of Baseball
Local girls compete in tournament play over the weekend
* The Slaterettes, one of the few girls baseball leagues hosts two out-of-state teams.
BYLINE: SUMATHI REDDY Journal Staff Writer
PUBLICATION: Providence Journal Company
EDITION: SECTION: Newspapers & Newswires
PAWTUCKET — Bethanie Boudreau was only five when she told her dad she wanted to play baseball.
But dad, who always encouraged her to play sports, told her there were no baseball teams for girls.
Or so he thought, until Bethanie pointed out a newspaper picture of a pony-tailed girl playing baseball.
“I told my dad that’s what I want to do,” Boudreau, now 19, recalled.
“Girls are expected to play softball,” she said, “boys are expected to play baseball. I’ve never done what I’m expected to do.”
And so for the past 14 years, Boudreau has been slugging it out on the baseball field as a player on the Pawtucket Slaterettes, the only all-girls baseball league in the state and one of very few in the country.
Formed in 1973 with 100 girls on 8 teams, the league now boasts 250 players, ages 5 to 18, on 18 teams.
This year marks the league’s 25th anniversary and in celebration it sponsored a tournament last weekend, an event organizers say they hope will become a tradition.
Four teams played in the tournament. Two were from the Slaterettes league: the Senior League All-Stars team, and an alumni team.
The other two traveling teams included an all-star team from Washington, D.C., and another from Medford, Mass.
Steve Janelle, minor league director of the Slaterettes, said officials originally thought theirs was the only girls’ baseball league.
With the help of the World Wide Web, however, they learned of other girls’ leagues in the United States and Canada.
The Washington Metropolitan Women’s Baseball League formed in 1990 and consists of four teams of women ages 16 and up, said Jo Ann Milliken, president of the organization.
Milliken said their league hopes to celebrate its 10th anniversary in the year 2000. And by that time, she anticipates that the league will be larger.
“We’re growing,” Milliken said, noting that the league doubled in size after the movie A League of Their Own. “That movie did a lot for women’s baseball.”
Joe Surette, coach of the alumni team, said the team assembled specifically for the tournament and has been practicing for only a few weeks.
“These are the diehards.