ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Women’s baseball past and present have come together in Rockford. The best women’s baseball players in the nation took the same field where the Rockford Peaches once played hard-ball.
It may sound cliche, but it’s a sentiment that continues to ring true for women in sports.
“If you see it, you can be it,” said Illinois Women’s Baseball Center CEO Kat Williams.
Women’s professional baseball has made its way back to the Stateline this week.
“It’s awesome to be here, it’s surreal, it doesn’t feel real,” said catcher Beth Greenwood. This is her first-time representing Team USA.
It seems only right that this take place at the Cradle of Baseball, Beyer Stadium.
“Right here in Rockford, the home of women’s baseball,” said Williams.
The USA Baseball Women’s National Team is here this week paying homage to the Rockford Peaches.
“I think it’s really special this time because it’s with Team USA and just to bring it full-circle with our team now, and the teams of the past that have been here is a pretty neat thing,” said assistant coach Alex Oglesby.
This is the first time the team has visited, and what an experience this will be – playing on the same field where Maybelle Blair once did.
“We are definitely grateful to have her, to meet her and hoping to make people like her and her other teammates proud,” said third baseman Valerie Perez.
Rockford also serves as a convenient stop for a tune-up game before the team heads to the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s Baseball World Cup group stage in Thunder Bay, Ontario August 8-13.
The team practiced at Beyer Stadium Wednesday night, and Thursday will play an exhibition game against Cangelosi Sparks North, a local Illinois travel boys baseball team.
“We are ready to take on anyone, right? So, anybody who steps on this field, these girls are ready to pounce,” said Oglesby.
The International Women’s Baseball Center (IWBC) views this historic sporting event as a way to continue pushing women’s baseball forward.
“It’s about bringing out the history and showing those girls, look you’re a part of something bigger, and the something bigger is right here [at Beyer Stadium].”
And the players see it the same way. It’s their job now to do what women like the Peaches did before them.
“It feels surreal to have Maybelle (Blair) here as well, cheering us on, that’s kind of like passing on the next generation, like it’s our turn to carry that torch.”
Before the Team USA plays its 5 p.m. exhibition game Thursday night, there will be a block party along Seminary Street, adjacent to 15th Avenue and Beyer Stadium. It’s a celebration to honor and welcome the team which will start at 3 p.m., and it’s free and open to the public.