White House Salutes Military Families in 20th Tee Ball on the South Lawn Game
The 20th and final Tee Ball on the South Lawn Game of President George W. Bush’s administration, honoring U.S. Military families, was played today under bright blue skies.
The game featured Tee Ball players who have a parent currently serving on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. Four of the players have a parent currently deployed. Only five of the 26 players in today’s game had been born when the first Tee Ball on the South Lawn game was played on May 6, 2001.
“We are really looking forward to seeing you all play, and it gives us a chance to thank your moms and dads for their sacrifice and service to the United States of America,” President Bush said in pre-game remarks before leading the players in the Little League Pledge.
Read the transcript of the President’s remarks here. www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/09/20080907-5.html
See details and a video of the game here. http://www.whitehouse.gov/teeball/2008/sept7.html
The Honorary Commissioner for the game was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Also attending were: Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; General Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force; Chief Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, Rod McKinley; and U.S. Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia.
Performing the National Anthem was the Grammy-winning group Rascal Flatts, which also gave a concert in front of The South Portico on the White House South Lawn for all Tee Ball game guests.
The honorary first base coach was former New York Yankee Bernie Williams. At third base, it was retired Gen. Peter Pace, who was the first Marine to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Like President Bush, Gen. Pace played Little League and is a member of the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence.
Presenting the “first ball” to President Bush was Ambassador Karen Hughes, who helped originate Tee Ball at the White House in 2001 along with Stephen D. Keener, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League International.
Handling the public address duties were Tim McCarver of FOX Sports, a former Major Leaguer who played on the St. Louis Cardinals 1964 world championship team, and Brian Kilmeade of FOX and Friends.
President Bush began the Tee Ball on the South Lawn initiative as a way to boost interest in youth sports among children and parents. Little League’s Tee Ball division is for players who are ages 4-7, with about 800,000 participants in the U.S.
For eight summers, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush invited Little League Tee Ball teams to the White House for games on the South Lawn. In that time, more than 600 American families had the thrill of watching their children play ball on the White House grounds, while they sat in aluminum bleachers with President Bush.
In keeping with the tradition of Tee Ball on the South Lawn games, no score was kept in any of the 20 games of one-inning each. Every player on the teams played on defense and batted once. A baseball autographed by President George W. Bush was presented – by the President himself – to each player. All of the families also received (or will receive) a signed photo of the President with the player.
The game today, was threatened with cancellation by Tropical Storm Hanna, which moved through the Washington area on Saturday. But on game day, the sun shone brightly and, as in previous games, not a drop of rain fell on the South Lawn.
Here is a list of the players that participated on the two teams, divided into “Stars” and “Stripes.”
|Rebecca Johnson||7||Bergen, N.Y|
|Cale Reinfurt||7||Falls Church, Va.|
|Caden Schlink||6||Casa Grande, Ariz.|
|Francisco Morales-Correa||6||West Point, N.Y.|
|Marcy Jumper||7||Fairfax, Va.|
|Nathan Chando||6||Hudsonville, Mich.|
|Madison Horn||7||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|Patrick Read||5||Annandale, Va.|
|Andrew Lilley||6||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|James Becker||6||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|Maxwell Ward||7||Temecula, Calif.|
|Steven Beruvides||6||Bossier City, La.|
|Eric Anderson||7||Navarre, Fla.|
|Adam Plante||6||Burke, Va.|
|Christopher Lockert||6||Centreville, Va.|
|Kasen Warrick||6||McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.|
|Alexander Wittkoff||5||Woodbridge, Va.|
|Matthew Bonacci||8||Havelock, N.C.|
|Spencer Turkal||7||New Bern, N.C.|
|Ashton Martinez||7||Maysville, N.C.|
|Ryan Roberts||7||Tarawa Terrace, N.C.|
|Kassie Frank||5||Gaithersburg, Md.|
|Benjamin Martinez||5||Hudson, Ohio|
|Mason Davis||5||Fredericksburg, Va.|
|Wade Crawley||5||Annandale, Va.|
|Bridget Donahue||8||Westborough, Mass.|
The first Tee Ball on the South Lawn game of 2008 was played on June 30, between the José M. Rodriguez Little League Angels of Manati, Puerto Rico, and the Cramer Hill Little League Red Sox of Camden, N.J., as the White House celebrated the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the sport of baseball.
The second Tee Ball game of the year was the first “All-Star” game and first doubleheader, as 51 players from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, came together to form four teams and played two games on July 16.
President Bush 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 delivered the ceremonial first pitch at the championship game of the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
The Tee Ball on the South Lawn games are made possible through the generosity of these sponsors: Wilson Sporting Goods, New Era Caps, Russell Athletic, Musco Sports Lighting, Dick’s Sporting Goods, ChoicePoint, AIG Insurance, and Subway.
It is not known if the 44th President of the United States will carry on the tradition of Tee Ball on the South Lawn games. However, Little League International will provide information on the initiative to the incoming Administration after the election in the hope that the program will continue.
A highlight video from some of the Tee Ball on the South Lawn games of the past seven years can be seen at www.youtube.com/user/DugoutTheMascot
A batter takes a healthy cut, as President and Mrs. Bush, along with about 500 spectators, look on.