The Town of Purcellville will play host to a regional women’s baseball tournament during the Memorial Day weekend, with appearances from women who played in the famed World War II-era women’s league.
The Eastern Women’s Baseball Conference will host its annual Diamond Classic Women’s Baseball Tournament May 29-31 at Fireman’s Field with eight teams and more than 100 players from across the U.S. competing throughout the weekend. The games, which are free for anyone to attend, will be played Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30, with eight games each day. The top teams will advance to the championship game at 9 a.m. May 31. Additional medal rounds will be played at Franklin Park on Monday.
Three former All American Girls Professional Baseball League players will attend the tournament: Sister Toni Palermo, Sue Parsons Zipay and Virginia “Jean” Ventura Manina. All three will be on hand to sign autographs and share their experiences playing in the league in the 1940s and ’50s. Most notably, Ventura Manina and Parsons Zipay played on the Rockford Peaches, which was featured in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own.”
Cubs owner Philip Wrigley created that league in 1943 by to keep baseball alive in midwestern cities where many men left to fight in World War II. From 1943 to 1954, the league provided more than 650 young women the chance to play professional baseball.
Although it’s not an official league, the Eastern Women’s Baseball Conference has provided women and girls the chance to play baseball at the local, regional and national and international levels for more than 25 years.
Carol Cassidy Walker, who is handling the promtions for the weekend’s tournament, said it’s the conference’s goal to create a new women’s baseball league. She emphasized that girls who want to play baseball typically have to shift their gameplay to softball if they want to play on a league or in college.
“But they want to play baseball,” she said. “These women are really devoted.”
A full schedule of this weekend’s tournament can be found at easternwomensbaseball.org/diamond-classic-tournament.