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President Bush invites Little League Tee Ball teams from Fort Belvoir and Naval Station Norfolk to a friendly game on the White House South Lawn

Click here to see President George W. Bush's 1955 Little League Team Roster.

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - . (May 16, 2003) – A Fort Belvoir, Va., Little League Tee Ball team will square off against a team from Norfolk, Va., in the first Army-Navy “Tee Ball on the South Lawn” game on June 22, it was announced today by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

In keeping with the tradition of Tee Ball on the South Lawn games, no score will be kept between the Fort Belvoir Little League Braves and the Naval Base Little League Yankees. Every player on both teams will play on defense and bat once in the one-inning game, to be followed by a picnic on the South Lawn for players and families. A baseball autographed by President George W. Bush will be presented – by the president himself – to each player, manager, and coach.

Zoey Gore and his mother inspect the uniforms of the “South Lawn Sluggers” at a parents’ meeting on May 16 at Fort Belvoir, Va. Zoey (whose father Derrick is stationed in Honduras) and 14 other children on a Fort Belvoir Little League team will play a Tee Ball game June 22 at the White House.

The game is the seventh on the South Lawn of the White House since May 6, 2001, when President Bush began the initiative as a way to boost interest in baseball among children and parents. It will be the first game of 2003, and the first to feature teams composed largely of dependents of military personnel. The time of the game will be announced in June.

President Bush, the first former Little Leaguer to be elected to the nation’s highest office, played Little League Baseball at Central Little League in Midland, Texas, in the mid-1950s. On Aug. 26, 2001, he was enshrined in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence during a ceremony at the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

In his news conference today, Mr. Fleischer said: “… I’m pleased to announce that the 2003 White House tee-ball season will begin on June 22. The first tee-ball game will honor the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families, who have made so many sacrifices to defend our nation. The game will feature Tee Ball teams from military bases, and the teams will largely be comprised of children from military families. The teams are both from Virginia for this June 22 game—the Fort Belvoir Little League Braves, and the Naval Base Norfolk Little League very proud to say—Yankees. The game will be the tee-ball version of the famous Army-Navy game, and members of all branches of the Armed Forces will be included in the audience and in other aspects of the event.”

Members of the Naval Base Little League Yankees gather in front of a Navy helicopter after a parents’ meeting on May 16 at Naval Base Norfolk, Va. The team will play a Tee Ball game on June 22 at the White House. The helicopter is part of the Navy’s Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2.

A few minutes earlier, at Fort Belvoir, a news conference was webcast live via Army Knowledge Online worldwide to Army personnel. Derrick Gore, stationed with the Army in Honduras, was able to see and hear his son, Zoey, during the press conference. Zoey, along with 14 other children from Fort Belvoir, will be one of those playing on June 22 at the White House. 

“It is an honor for Little league Baseball to work with President Bush and his staff in conducting the third season of Tee Ball on the South Lawn,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball, said. “Through this initiative, the president has succeeded in emphasizing the importance of family involvement in programs that service children, and he is helping to promote a game that is considered by many to be a rite of childhood.”

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