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Three Women to be Enshrined in Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence

Nancy dosReis

Cathy Gerring

Krissy Wendell

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 18, 2004) – For the first time, a woman will be accorded the highest honor Little League International can bestow upon a graduate of the program.

In fact, three women will be honored with enshrinement in the Little League Hall of Excellence at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum before the Little League Baseball World Series championship game on Aug. 29. The enshrinement is part of Little League’s celebration of the 30th anniversary of its decision to admit girls into the program.

The enshrinees are Krissy Wendell of Brooklyn Park, Minn., Cathy Gerring of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Nancy dosReis of Smithfield, R.I.
“As with all enshrinees in the Hall of Excellence, these three individuals have become role models not only for girls, but for all children,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “They embody the three words in the Little League motto: character, courage, and loyalty.”

Ms. Wendell, the first girl to start at catcher in a Little League Baseball World Series game, played in Williamsport in 1994 for Brooklyn Park (Minn.) American Little League, and went on to become one of the best women’s ice hockey players in U.S. history. She led the U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team to a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, and in 2004 she won the most outstanding player award in the NCAA Division I Women’s Hockey Tournament as a member of the national champion University of Minnesota team.

Ms. Gerring played baseball in the Times Corners Little League of Fort Wayne. After earning All-America honors in golf at Ohio State University, she became a professional golfer in 1983, winning three events on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour, and she climbed to No. 4 in tour winnings in 1990. Severe burns from a 1992 accident and a serious head injury in a 2002 fall dealt setbacks to her career, but she has battled back each time to play golf professionally again.

Ms. dosReis, a detective in the Providence (R.I.) Police Department, played softball for six years in the North Providence West Little League, and was a member of her league’s world championship team in the 1979 Little League Softball World Series, played in Waco, Texas. Detective dosReis, who earned a master’s degree from Roger Williams University, made national headlines in 1996 when she and her K-9 partner were credited with the arrest of a convicted murderer who had escaped from a maximum-security prison.

The 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. The 2004 Little League Baseball World Series begins on Friday when Maria Pepe of Hoboken, N.J., throws out the ceremonial first pitch in pre-tournament ceremonies scheduled for 11 a.m. at Little League Volunteer Stadium.

Since 1951, Little League rules had prohibited girls from playing. But in 1972, Maria tried out for and was placed on a team in the Hoboken (N.J.) Little League. She played in three games, then was compelled to leave the Young Democrats team.
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 Little League 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 enshrinees 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.