Sunday, January 10, 2010

And Then a Good Cry.(Sport; SOFTBALL).

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The Olympics were bad enough. A Japanese won a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling and a Dutchman beat the Japanese in judo. Now nothing seems to be sacred. In Melbourne, Australia, last week, the U.S. lost the first "World Series" of ladies' softball. And to a covey of Aussie shielahs who still think the name of the game is "rounders."

The World Series matched teams from five softball-playing nations, including a squad from New Guinea, where the sport was introduced just three years ago. Predictably, the New Guineans lost every game. Just as predictably, the U.S. was the favorite. After all, Americans invented the sport in 1887, and today something like 3,500,000 men, along with 500,000 women, step up to the plate each year to whack the old grapefruit around.

So off to defend the nation's honor went the Raybestos Brakettes from Stratford, Conn., winners of the U.S. ladies' championship four out of the past seven years. Technically the Brakettes are all amateurs, but around the Raybestos Co. folks take ladies' softball so seriously that whole families have been moved from California just to get Mommy on the team. One of the pitchers, Bertha Tickey, 41, has 155 no-hitters to her credit.

The Aussies got into the game much later than the U.S., but with characteristic push. They have been playing softball since World War II, and now have no fewer than 450 women's teams. Besides, beating an Australian at anything is a considerable chore. For five innings of the final game, Australia's Lorraine Woolley and the U.S.'s Donna Lo Piano toiled through a scoreless pitching duel. The Aussies had a bit of a scare in the fifth when a U.S. lass tripled, but tight defensive play left her stranded on third. Then in the sixth, Australia's Eleanor McKenzie doubled. A pretty secretary from Ashburton, Victoria, Eleanor got her start playing cricket with the boys--and she runs the bases as though she had taken lessons from Maury Wills.

Just thinking about her out there on second was enough to rattle U.S. Pitcher Lo Piano. She uncorked a wild pitch, and Eleanor never even slowed down rounding third, slid headfirst across home plate with the run that gave the Aussies a 1-0 victory. The Yanks were ladies to the end. Game over, they repaired to the locker room for a cry.

Source Citation
"And Then a Good Cry.(Sport; SOFTBALL)." Time 5 Mar. 1965: 60. General OneFile. Web. 10 Jan. 2010. .

Gale Document Number:A195865147

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