You won’t see Mariah Carey sliding into home plate, but one group of divas knows how to get down and dirty to get the job done and for the past 11 years, that’s exactly what the City Divas softball league has been doing, winning three championships this year alone.
After a championship drought, the City Divas’ 18-year-olds took the RBI Baseball trophy back to the Bronx, while its 14 & under team, in its first year in existence, also took home the RBI Baseball title and the 16 & under team won the NYS Metro Babe Ruth Championship.
“This has probably been our best year,” said the league’s founder Derrick Brown, who helps coach teams with Joey Garcia, Nicole Sheppard and Jason Braswell. “We are really growing. There are 80 girls in the program, all of whom are focused and matured. They came in early, participated in every practice and their hard work really paid off.”
Brown was most impressed with the 14 & under squad, never expecting them to do so well in their first year. “We had girls between the ages of 11 and 14 who had never played together before,” Brown explained. “I figured it was going to be a learning experience and that the team would take their lumps this season.”
Brown soon discovered it was his team that would be dishing out the lumps, going 11-0 on the year, led by Courtney White, who proved unstoppable as a pitcher, and Ashley Martinez, who complimented White with both hitting and strong defense.
While the 14 & under team was capturing its first title, the league’s 18 year olds were attempting to win a title for the first time in three years. At that time, they had won the title four years in a row.
Going 14-2 on the season, the team was led by the pitching of Sasha Torres and her battery mate Carman Pagan, the team’s captain. “Carman was the most focused coach on the field and rallied to keep the team together,” Brown said. “When you are 18-years-old, you have jobs and boyfriends that serve as distractions, but Carman kept them together working on the field to win a title.”
As for the 16 & under division, while the team captured the NYS Metro Babe Ruth Championship, they fell short of winning its sixth straight RBI Baseball championship, losing three starters to injuries just before the title game.
“I was really concerned with the amount of pressure the team was putting on themselves so they would not be the team that lost the title,” Brown said. “I would have loved to have been able to keep our dynasty, but I’m okay because the team worked hard. I’m proud of them and the whole group of girls.”
As for next year, Brown is already getting ready for winter workouts, which are scheduled in February. With the help of the Kingsbridge Little League and Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, the City Divas will be looking for new girls to try out for the team and develop skills for the 2009 season.
And as a non-profit organization, the City Divas are looking for sponsors who will help the team reach even newer heights in the near future.
For more information on the team, or to donate money to the program, contact Brown at (646) 523-9421.