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8:35 AM Tue, Nov. 20th

Chino Valley Little League expands to two all-girls teams

Players and coaches show respect as the National Anthem is played during opening ceremonies for the Chino Valley Little League Saturday afternoon.  (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Players and coaches show respect as the National Anthem is played during opening ceremonies for the Chino Valley Little League Saturday afternoon. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

Last year Chino Valley Little League featured an all-girls baseball team competing against boys for what organizers said they think was first time.

This year they had so many requests they had to expand it to two all-girls teams. Chino Valley Little League opened its season Saturday, April 16 at Community Park with 28 teams and about 300 players, according to President Mike Pickett.

“Last year it seemed to work really well, they kind of bonded,” said Pickett, who is in first year as president of the league. “It’s really good for girls who aren’t quite ready for softball yet.”

Mary’s Cozy Home Furnishings and Appaloosa Printing are the two all-girls teams competing in the Rookie League, which has coaches pitching to the players.

“They didn’t have a softball team, and I know that my daughter would play better, and be more interested in baseball if she was with other girls,” said Marcie Harris, who is coach of the Mary’s Cozy Home Furnishings team.

Girls have been playing baseball for years as part of Little League because there were not enough girls to form a full softball league. The concept of putting all the girls on one team is a more recent trend.

“We didn’t know there was another all-girls team, we only thought there was one,” Harris said. “So we were pretty tickled to see that.”

Harris said she thinks the all-girls teams can be competitive.

“We did a scrimmage last week, and they did pretty good,” Harris said.

Assistant coach Jesse Ruiz said that only two of their players played T-ball last year, so it’s a new game for the majority of the team.

Opening Day consisted of team photos, the raising of the flag by Chino Valley Fire Department officials, a prayer and the first pitch by Chino Valley Police Department officers. There were also raffles to raise money for the league.

The two all-girls teams lined up just like all the other 26 teams on Saturday, right next to all-boys teams. From a distance, you couldn’t really tell the teams apart.

“They’re going out, they’re having a good time, and that’s what you’re supposed to do at this level,” Harris said. “We’re excited.”

Follow Ken Sain on Twitter at @ksainjr. Reach him at 928-445-3333, Ext. 2021, or 928-420-5341 or email him at ksain@prescottaz.com.