In May of 1973, a 12-year-old girl in pigtails from Ypsilanti, Michigan made history by taking on the largest youth sports organization in America. Carolyn King was simply looking to play baseball when she tried out for a spot in the Ypsilanti American Little League. She went to the tryouts with her younger brother, and impressed the coaches with her strong throwing arm and her speed. The coach of the Orioles was looking for a center fielder, and he thought that Carolyn might fit the bill, so he drafted her. One problem: In 1951, the National Little League organization in Williamsport, Pa., had enacted a rule that specifically said girls were not eligible to play. National officials felt the sport of baseball was too dangerous for girls, so they decided to restrict their leagues to boys. The National Little League threatened to pull the local league’s charter if Carolyn played, but the City of Ypsilanti said that if she didn’t play, the league couldn’t use the city’s fields. When she suited up for the Orioles in their first game – making history in the process – the National Little League followed through on its threat to pull the local league’s charter. That set up a summer of controversy and showdowns in Ypsilanti that strongly divided the community as the case headed to federal court. It made national headlines in 1973, and landed the story on the evening news. In the middle of it all was a 12-year-old in pigtails who simply wanted to play baseball. Carolyn’s case and the national uproar it caused prompted National Little League officials to drop their boys-only rule. In 1974, thanks to Carolyn King, girls became eligible to play Little League baseball. The Ypsilanti American Little League founded in 1953, is the oldest Little League in Michigan and the first in the world to include a female player
“The Girl in Centerfield,” a feature-length documentary produced by Detroit-based Stunt3 Multimedia, is the story of Carolyn King’s fight to play Little League baseball. Using interviews, stock footage, and re-creation, Stunt3 will weave together the drama of the summer of 1973 when the nation watched as the city of Ypsilanti went head-to-head with Williamsport, Pennsylvania and the institution of Little League Baseball. The film is scheduled for release in the summer of 2010. On Thursday, July 19, 2010, 7-8:30pm Ypsilanti District Library will premiere the trailer for the documentary and host a personal appearance by Carolyn King Minot.
Carolyn King Minot being interviewed for”The Girl in Centerfield”
Vancil Shuts Out Sliders
YPSILANTI, MI, August 26, 2009
Preston Vancil bottled up the Sliders hitting Wednesday night for the Florence Freedom as they beat the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti 4-0. Vancil was the story of the night as he only allowed two hits throwing a complete game shutout.
The two Slider hits came from Robbie Knapp in the second inning, and Bryan Bonner in the eighth. Bonners double in the eighth was the only Sliders scoring opportunity as Vancil only allowed one runner in scoring position and three base runners all night.
Jon Haldis did have a solid second start allowing four runs in six innings.
Florence will go for the sweep Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium. After this game the Sliders will only have one more home series when Washington Wild Things come into town for a three game set this weekend.
YPSILANTI, MI, August 25, 2009
The Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti losing streak has reached a season high five games after they lost both games against the Florence Freedom Tuesday night at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium.
The first game Florence lit up the board with 18 hits and 13 runs to show for. Freedom won 13-3 and jumped on Sliders early to leave no doubt. They scored five runs in the top of the first inning helped by two homers in their first at bats from Justin Pickett and Jay Johnson.
As the night grew Florence lead did as well as they expanded it too 13-1 by the fifth inning. Jimmy Baker did have a mammoth homer in the top of the sixth that gave the Slider fans something to cheer about.
Game two wasn’t that much better, although Midwest didn’t allow as many runs they still fell 4-1. The Sliders had their chances but couldn’t capitalize on big opportunities.
Freedom jumped out to a led early scoring in the first, and in the fourth helped by a monstrous shot by John Welch giving them a 4-0 advantage.
Sliders scored their first run from a double by Jeremy Jones, and doubled in by Byran Bonner.
Midwest had a huge chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the fifth when they loaded the bases and had only one out. Two groundouts later Florence squeaked out of a very tough jam still leading 4-1.
Wednesday Jon Haldis will take the mound to try to stop the Sliders skid. The first pitch will begin at 7:05 p.m. at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium. There are only five more Sliders home games left, as Sunday will be the clubs last home game this season.
Sliders Struggles Continue, Miners Earn Sweep
MARION- The Southern Illinois Miners didn’t need their third walk-off of the series to earn the sweep against the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti. The Sliders fell 7-1 and tied the season high four game losing streak heading back home.
Tuesday’s doubleheader with Florence Freedom will start the last home stand of the season. It will be seven games long. Sunday will be the final Sliders home game in 2009 at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium.
Zack Pace drove in Midwest’s lone run in the eighth inning after the Miners had the game in hand. Nolan Shaffer got the loss and his record falls to 3-5 on the season.
Midwest will enjoy a rare day off Monday to regroup after a tough 1-5 road trip to get there things together for the final home stretch of games. Tuesday’s gates open at 4 p.m. with the first game of the doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. The Sliders will play two seven inning games Tuesday night.
More Miner Miracles
MARION, ILL, August 23, 2009
Southern Illinois Miners won a remarkable fourth straight game in walk off fashion Saturday night at Rent One Park. The Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti came from behind in the ninth to tie the game, but lost it in the 10th inning 5-4.
Midwest scored three runs between the third and fourth innings which was highlighted by a Jonnie Knoble two-run single. Southern Illinois held a 4-3 lead all the way through the eighth inning.
Scott Van Es started for the Sliders and threw six innings allowing four runs and didn’t earn a decision. He gave way to P.J. Zocchi who pitched the 7th, 8th, and 9th allowing only two hits.
The Sliders were down the their last out in the ninth when Robbie Knapp singled driving in Zack Pace to tie the game up, forcing extra innings.
When Zocchi came bout out in the tenth inning he couldn’t record a single out. The leadoff man tripled, which was followed by a walk off single to end the game.
Miners will look to extend their winnings steak to six games and get the sweep against Midwest Sunday at 6:05 p.m. Nolan Schaffer will take the mound for the Sliders.
Miners Walk Off for 3rd Straight Game
MARION, ILL, August 22, 2009
The Southern Illinois Miners stole a wild one from the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti in the ninth inning at Rent One Park. Brad Miller hit a walk off hit; it was the Miners third straight walk off and fifth straight win.
Robbie Knapp started the thing off right for the Sliders hitting a two-run homer in the first inning. The Miners tied it in their next at bats.
The game was tied at threes for until the Sliders broke the tie in the eighth inning. Zack Pace doubled, and was doubled in by Joash Brodin. That play gave the Sliders a 4-3 lead late in the game.
Heading into the ninth Midwest kept Jeff Fischer in the game who had thrown three scoreless innings in relief only allow two hits. He let up his third hit to lead off the ninth and was then replaced by closer Arshwin Asjes.
Asjes collected two outs, but loaded the bases for when Miller stepped into the box. Miller then put the ball in the right-center gap between Pace and Clay McCord. Will Block who had three hits on the night, came around to score and end the game.
Saturday Midwest will look to even up the series with the Miners at 8:05 p.m. at Rent One Park.
Sliders Slip 12-9
EVANSVILLE, IN, August 21, 2009
Evansville took two out of three with the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti after Thursday nights 12-9 at Bosse Field. The Otters jumped out to a 6-0 lead in their first at bat and did not look back holding on to the led the rest of the game.
Midwest didn’t give up though, scoring four runs in the third to try to mount a comeback attempt. The scoring was highlighted by a Jonnie Knoble double, Zack Pace single, and Robbie Knapp single.
Scoring a run third, fourth, and fifth kept the Sliders at an arms length. Otters put up a three spot in the sixth inning, two off Garrett Maines error. After that Evansville could sit on their lead.
Dan Horvath started for Midwest and allowed seven runs in only three innings of work.
The Sliders will head to Southern Illinois to face the Miners in a three game set this weekend. First pitch Friday is at 8:05 EST. p.m.
Tuesday Midwest will host the Florence Freedom in a double header that will begin at EMU’s Oestrike Stadium at 5:05 p.m. The seven game home stand will be the last home games of the season.
Bonner Racks Up Five Hit Night, Leads Sliders Past Otters
EVANSVILLE, IN, August 20, 2009
The Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti ended their offensive woes Wednesday night in Indiana. They lit up the scoreboard scoring 16 runs on 17 hits. The Evansville Otters kept it a game as they did some hitting themselves, scoring 13 runs.
It was all about the sticks tonight led by Bryan Bonner. Bonner went a remarkable 5-6 with a triple, four RBI’s, and two runs scored. Joash Brodin, and Lee Rubin also pitched in with big nights collecting five hits between the two of them. Brodin scored four runs and had two hits, while Rubin drove in a key five runs.
Adam Dominick who was acquired from a trade with Windy City, came in relief for Jeff Fischer and threw three scoreless innings. While he threw Midwest rallied a comeback as Dominick earned his third win of the season.
The Sliders looked like they had a rout in the fifth inning leading 15-6. But the Otters didn’t give up and kept scoring until Arshwin Asjes came on in the ninth to finally end their comeback attempt.
Thursday night’s rubber game will begin at 8:05 EST. at historic Bosse Field.
Otters Chew Up Sliders
EVANSVILLE, IN, August 19, 2009
The Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti slide in the standings continues. They lost to the Evansville Otters 10-5 Tuesday night.
The Sliders did jump out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
But once again Midwest killers Greg Alexander, and Luke Hetherington stuck again combining for six RBI’s. Alexander broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fifth with a three-run bomb. Hetherington finished the game going 2-4 with two RBI’s and two runs scored.
Nolan Shaffer allowed five runs in just 4 1/3 innings losing his third game of the season. Earl Oakes and Kyle Wink threw and allowed the last five Otter runs.
Wednesday Midwest will try to turn around the skid in game two of the series against Evansville at 8:05 p.m. EST.
YPSILANTI, MI, August 16, 2009
The Southern Illinois Miners came into Oestrike Stadium Sunday with their bats ready. They spread out 19 hits and 17 runs while the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti could only scratch out two runs on seven hits.
Southern Illinois jumped out to an early lead in their first at bats. A two-out rally, capped by Brad Miller’s three-run homer, gave the Miners a 3-0 advantage.
Bryan Bonner hit his second round tripper of the season in the fifth to cut the lead to 3-1. He pulled the pitch right down the right field line and over the fence.
Mike Penn got the loss but only allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings of work and left the game with a 4-2 deficit. The bullpen really let the game get out of hand.
The Miners hit four bombs on the day as they outslugged Midwest and really broke the game open scoring 14 runs from the sixth inning on.
Monday the Sliders will enjoy a day off before heading to Evansville to play the Otters on Tuesday.