Bay Ladies Step Onto Field Of Dreams

June 13, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

They are called the Bay Ladies. But they feel more at home on the dirt and grass of a softball diamond.

The team is Maryland's first entry into slow-pitch softball for women 40 and older.

The average age for players is 47. Many have played ball before.

Family responsibilities often forced them into early retirement, said Janet Hull, 76.

Ms. Hull spent years organizing the team and is its oldest member.

"I've worked long and hard. It's a great experience to see that these women are interested in playing ball again with their own age group," said Ms. Hull, who has patterned the Bay Ladies after the Golden Girls, a senior women's softball league in Virginia in which she has played for six years.

Every Tuesday night since January, the Bay Ladies have played and practiced at the Baybrook Recreation Center in Brooklyn.

The team drew 19 women in the winter. With spring, their number dropped to 13.

"A lot of women have children," said Ms. Hull. "And they're taking them to ballgames."

Ideally, Ms. Hull said, she would like to have at least 22 women so that the team can enter tournaments, as the Golden Girls do.

"We're not going to get all those girls at once. We're just starting out," she said.

Even so, the women are eager to go head to head against other teams, Ms. Hull said.

A team of younger women, ages 20 to 40, had to cancel a match with the Bay Ladies on June 5 because of a scheduling conflict, disappointing the Bay Ladies.

"It would have probably been a pretty good game," said Ms. Hull, who lives in Brooklyn Park.

"They probably would have beat us. Forty- and 50-year-old girls just can't beat a team of 20- and 30-year-olds. But we would have tried.

Ms. Hull said the Bay Ladies hope to reschedule the game with the younger team.

She also said she is "trying to get a game with one of the teams I play on in Virginia."

"I'm thoroughly enjoying it even if we don't play against other teams," said Patricia Gill, 52, who has played baseball at family reunions, but never on an organized team.

Ms. Hull knows the value of patience from watching the growth of the Golden Girls.

Since its inception six years ago, the Virginia group has grown from 16 to 107 members, allowing it to form four teams, the Radical Roses, Mc's Max, Lou's Jewels and the Olympians.

Ms. Hull hopes to build a league of Maryland teams so that women from teams such as the Bay Ladies can enter tournaments and the Maryland Senior Olympics.

When she was growing up, she said, it was considered unladylike for women to play ball.

"But we're getting into this world now," she said.

If she were a few years younger and not worried about a ball hitting her in the chest, the knees or the face, she said, she would not hesitate to take advantage of a new rule that allows women in the senior softball leagues to slide into bases.

"I definitely would," Ms. Hull said.

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