Women’s baseball is a huge part of Rockford’s sports past with the Peaches and now it’s a part of Rockford’s present with a major girls baseball tournament going on at the site of the Peaches’ former field Beyer Stadium.
Hundreds of girls will taken the field this weekend, but don’t expect any under-hand pitching. These girls are playing baseball.
“I’ve just been playing baseball since I was very little, and it’s a sport I fell in love with,” says baseball player Monty Sandoval.
The 2017 Baseball for All National Tournament has made it’s way to iconic Beyer Stadium. 200 girls playing baseball on the same field as one of the most famous all-girl baseball teams ever the Rockford Peaches.
“It’s so special,” says baseball player Aylee Weiss. “I feel like the players from the movie are here with us, and they’re like giving us little tips throughout the game.”
“When I was running on the field I had to like stutter step, because I was like taking everything in!, Says baseball player Leiyah Tate-Roger.
As a new generation of female baseball players took the field, a few former Peaches had good view of the action.
“I actually, I don’t even believe it because it was one of those things where all of the girls would talk about it (a new girls baseball league), and we had no idea a league was starting to form,” says Ange Armato a former player in the old All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
“I think it was the movie (that brought back girls baseball), says former Rockford Peach Shirley Burkoviach. “If Penny Marshall hadn’t put out that movie (‘A League Of Their Own’) we would still be obscure. No one would have known us.”
The film “A League of Their Own” is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. For most of these girls playing baseball means playing with boys, but this tournament provides the chance for the girls to play together.
“I love it! It’s so much better,” says one of the girls.
“With guys it’s like awkward because you’re like, Oh there’s a girl on the field! But like with them (the other girls) it’s just we’re like the same. We all play baseball,” says baseball player Abbygail Claudius.
The ‘Baseball For All 2017 Nationals’ runs through Monday.