They had a league of their own. Now girls in Throggs Neck have a field to share. On Monday, July 6, a golden afternoon, the Throgs Neck Little League allowed the Throggs Neck Girls Softball League to compete on its little league field for the first time ever.
Since it was founded in 1952, the TNLL has reserved the exclusive right to play ball on Throgs Neck Boulevard. Generations of girls have longingly watched brothers and friends gallop into the lush outfield, round the sparkling bases and dive into the orange clay. Although the TNLL admitted girl baseball players some years ago, the two TNLL fields have remained, for the most part, boy territory.
No longer. The TNGSL has nearly doubled in size under tha president Rachael Mazza and a dedicated board. It now boasts 168 players and 14 teams. Although the TNGSL uses the softball field at Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park, it needed more room to play. Mazza approached the TNLL and asked to borrow time at Leo Vitti Memorial Field.
TNLL treasurer Frank Eisele consented to six games: July 6, July 17, July 20, July 27 and July 30. Fine Fare faced Crosstown Diner on June 6. Before the game, Mazza thanked Eisele and presented the TNLL with a plaque.
“The Throggs Neck Girls Softball League would like to honor Frank Eisele for opening up your heart and your field to the children of our community,” the plaque reads.
Eisele smiled in pride and disbelief. The TNLL will never be the same.
“This is big news,” Eisele said. “It’s an opportunity to share a field with the girls who play in our community, the girls whose brothers play little league.”
“This is terrific,” she said. “This is history. It brings our community closer. We’re not working against each other. We’re working with each other.”
Marykate Connolly, 13, plays first base and catcher for Fine Fare. She recently graduated from M.S. 101 and will attend Preston High School in the fall.
“It’s an accomplishment,” Connolly said, referring to the TNLL-TNGSL partnership. “I think it’s about time that people started noticing that we need more room.”
Fine Fare coach Chris Corsa, whose 12-year old daughter Caroline plays on the team, beamed.
“Girls softball has come a long way in the last few years,” Corsa said. “More girls are coming out. Rachael and the others are dedicated and it shows when the girls play.
Mike Wickes, 12, plays for TNLL team Marina Del Ray. He stopped by Vitti Memorial to play catch before the softball game. Wickes attends M.S. 101.
“I wonder if they can hit the ball over the fence,” he said. “If it’s a good pitch, I think they can.”
Janisa Bigio, 13, of Crosstown Diner looked ready to wallop a home run. She attends the Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement.
“I’m glad they are letting us play here,” she said. “It’s cool. Girls should be able to play anywhere. We’re as good as boys.”
Jillian Aversano, 30, grew up in Throggs Neck. Aversano joined the TNGSL when she was 13 years old.
“I was never able to play here,” Aversano said. “This is great.”