Little League Softball Teams from Maryland, Virginia Play White House Tee Ball Game
|The teams, along with President Bush
and all the fans, salute the flag during the National
Anthem at the first girls softball game to be played at
the White House, between Little League teams from
Virginia and Maryland.
In keeping with the tradition of Tee Ball on the South Lawn
games, no score was kept between the Allegany Little League Bobcats,
which is sponsored by Around the Back Chiropractic, and the Luray
Caverns Red Wings of Luray Little League. Each girl on both teams
played on defense and batted once in the one-inning game, followed
by a picnic on the South Lawn for players and families. A softball
autographed by President George W. Bush was presented – by the
president himself – to each player, manager, and coach.
The honorary commissioner for the game was two-time Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith, recognized as one of the finest softball pitchers in the world. Ms. Smith conducts softball coaching clinics for Little League each year at its various Regional Centers.
Special guests included the University of Arizona women’s softball team, which recently won its second straight College Softball World Series. The first base coach was Series MVP Taryne Mowatt, and the third base coach was teammate Caitlin Lowe.
The play-by-play announcer was Hannah Storm of CBS’ The Early Show. Presenting the game ball to President Bush was Little League Challenger Division player Meredith Cripe. An honor guard from a local Girl Scouts of America troop presented the colors, and The Jonas Brothers sang the National Anthem.
After welcoming remarks, President Bush led the two teams in the Little League Pledge.
The game was the 16th 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 youth sports among children and parents.
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. He was on the Cubs, and was a catcher. In 2001, President Bush was enshrined in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence when he visited the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
This game was the first of the 2007 Tee Ball on the South Lawn season, and the first to feature girls softball teams. Little League’s girls softball divisions, which begin at age 5 and go up to age 18, boast more than 360,000 players worldwide.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest youth sports organization, with nearly 2.7 million children participating in every U.S. state and dozens of other countries on six continents. Little League is the only youth sports organization to be chartered by the U.S. Congress.
Before the game begins, President Bush places the first ball on the tee, with the assistance of Little League Challenger Division player Meredith Cripe. At left is the honorary commissioner for the game, two-time Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith, who is one of the greatest softball pitchers in the world.
|Seated in the stands with families and friends of the teams, President Bush enjoys the game with Ms. Smith.|
|A player from Luray (Va.) Little League drives the ball off the tee.|
|The first base coach, at right, is Taryne Mowatt, MVP of the 2007 College Softball World Series champions from the University of Arizona.|
An outfielder for the team from Allegany County Little League of Cumberland, Md., lets the ball fly.
Two Virginia runners try to score back-to-back runs.
The third base coach is Caitlin Lowe of the 2007 College Softball World Series champions from the University of Arizona.
After the game, President Bush, Ms. Smith and Little League mascot Dugout presented each player, manager and coach with a softball bearing President’s signature.
Hannah Storm, of CBS’s The Early Show, was the play-by-play announcer.