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Pro Golfer, College Hockey Champion, and Police Detective Become First Women Enshrined in Little League Hall of Excellence

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 29, 2004) – Cathy Gerring, Krissy Wendell, and Nancy dosReis hail from varied athletic and professional backgrounds, but all have Little League in common. That bond brought them as the 2004 class of enshrinees to the Little League Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

Stephen D. Keener, far right, congratulates the 2004 Little League Hall of Excellence enshrinees during a recognition ceremony prior to today’s World Series championship game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. From left are, Meghan Sims, third baseman for the Great Lakes Region champion, who escorted enshrinee Krissy Wendell, Alexandra Bellini, third baseman from the Canada region champions, who escorted enshrinee Nancy dosReis, and enshrinee Cathy Gerring, who was escorted by Little League International board member, Sally John. This year’s enshrinees were the first women to enter the Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

The first three women to be enshrined were honored before the Little League Baseball World Series championship game today. The enshrinement was part of Little League’s celebration of the 30th anniversary of its decision to admit girls into the program.
“These women have all displayed great conviction and confidence in their abilities, and have each achieved much as adults,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “As children, their parents felt participation in the Little League program would play a vital part in that development. To that end, it is with much pride and respect that we welcome them into the Hall of Excellence.”

Cathy Gerring, 43, played Little League Softball for Times Corners Little League in Fort Wayne, Ind. A former professional golfer on the LPGA tour, with three tour victories to her credit, she has had to overcome a 1992 accident that left her hands and arms severely burned, and a fall in 2002, which caused a serious brain injury. She has returned to playing competitive golf this season and hopes to once again qualify for the LPGA tour.

Speaking on behalf of the enshrinees, Mrs. Gerring said, “First and foremost we’d like to thank Little League Baseball for the tremendous honor of being the first women inducted into Little League’s Hall of Excellence. As little girls we were just kids with a dream and the desire to play ball. I can’t begin to thank everyone who helped us reach for our dreams.”

Krissy Wendell, 22, a member of the U.S. women’s ice hockey team in 2002, and the most outstanding player of the 2004 NCAA women’s hockey tournament, was a catcher for Brooklyn Center American Little League team from Brooklyn Park, Minn., that played in the 1994 Little League World Series. In 2002, she won an Olympic silver medal in Salt Lake City, and this year helped lead the University of Minnesota to the school’s first national championship in women’s ice hockey.

Nancy dosReis, 37, a 14-year veteran of law enforcement, is a detective with the Providence, R.I., police force. Prior to becoming a detective five years ago, Mrs. dosReis was a member of the Providence Police Department’s K-9 unit. It was during that time in 1996 when she made national headlines as the arresting officer in the capture of an escaped convicted murderer. She played Little League Softball in the North Providence West Little League and was a member of the 1979 Little League Softball World Series world champions.

The Hall of Excellence enshrinement is the culmination of Little League’s celebration of the fact that more than 5 million girls have received the benefits of playing Little League in the past 30 years.
Coincidentally, the Hall of Excellence ceremony included Meghan Sims, first baseman for the Great Lakes Region champion from Owensboro, Ky., and Alexandra Bellini, third baseman for the Canada Region champion of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – the 11th and 12th girls to play in the Little League Baseball World Series. This was the first year that two girls had played in the same World Series.
Since 1951, Little League rules had prohibited girls from playing. Little League eventually admitted girls to the program in 1974 when local Little Leagues in New Jersey were told they must allow girls to try out. Little League not only allowed girls to play in its baseball programs, but created a softball program for girls only. Today, nearly 500,000 girls play Little League Baseball and Softball.
Established in 1988, enshrinement in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence is conducted annually for a Little League graduate (or graduates) who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession and exemplify the values learned as children in Little League Baseball. Hall of Excellence inductees are selected through a defined voting system by the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Advisory Board.

Mr. McGovern saw the need for a physical structure to tell the story of Little League. To that end, he spearheaded the development of the Little League Museum. Opened during the 1982 Little League World Series, the museum is located on the Little League International complex. It was renamed in Mr. McGovern’s honor upon his retirement in 1983.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.