The Town of Purcellville will host a regional women’s baseball tournament during the Memorial Day weekend, featuring performances from women who played in the famous World War II women’s league.
Eastern Women’s Baseball Conference hosts its annual Diamond Classic Women’s Baseball Tournament 29.-31. May at Fireman’s Field with eight teams and more than 100 players from across the United States competing throughout the weekend. The games, which are free for everyone to participate in, will be played on Saturday and Sunday 29 – 30 May, with eight matches each day. The top teams advance to the championship match on May 9, May 31. Additional medal rounds will be played at Franklin Park on Monday.
Three former All American Girls Professional Baseball League players will participate in the tournament: Sister Toni Palermo, Sue Parsons Zipay and Virginia “Jean” Ventura Manina. All three will be present to sign autographs and share their experiences playing in the league in the 1940s and 50s. In particular, Ventura played Manina and Parsons’ Zipay at Rockford Peaches, which was featured in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.”
Cubs owner Philip Wrigley created that league in 1943 by keeping baseball alive in midwestern cities where many men went to fight in World War II. From 1943 to 1954, the league gave more than 650 young women the chance to play professional baseball.
Although not an official league, the Eastern Women’s Baseball Conference has given women and girls the chance to play baseball at the local, regional, national, and international levels for more than 25 years.
Carol Cassidy Walker, who handles campaigns for this weekend’s tournament, said the conference’s goal is to create a new baseball league for women. She stressed that girls who want to play baseball usually have to switch to softball if they want to play in a league or college.
“But they want to play baseball,” she said. “These women are truly devoted.”
A full schedule for this weekend’s tournament can be found at easternwomensbaseball.org/diamond-classic-tournament.