Archive for Thursday, August 24, 1995

LOCAL BULLETS DRAW FANS PLAYING MEN

August 24, 1995

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There's a new team in town -- the Silver Bullets.

No, not the women's baseball team that travels the country playing against men. This version of the Silver Bullets, sponsored by West Coast Saloon, plays in the men's fastpitch softball league in Lawrence. The city's had women play in the league before, but not an entire team.

The Silver Bullets won their opener last Thursday, beating the Fast Cats, 8-6, at Lyon Park, where they emerged as a fan favorite.

"There were more people at that game than I've ever seen at a city game," said Reenie Stogsdill, who assembled the women's team. "All the stands were filled and people were sitting in lawn chairs. And when people got done at the other field, they came over to see what was going on."

Stogsdill, named the head softball coach at Lawrence High earlier this month, formed the team, comprised of former Kansas University players and several members of her slowpitch team. She became intrigued by the idea after playing in a fastpitch tournament last year.

"I played in one tournament last year with a Nebraska team for the first time since college," said Stogsdill, who lettered at KU in 1985-88. "That got me pumped up to try to do this."

Since a women's fastpitch league wasn't available, Stogsdill wasn't sure her idea would be approved. She called Bob Stanclift, her coach at KU and now the city's adult sports supervisor, for approval.

"I thought he was probably going to tell me no and I wouldn't pursue it anymore," Stogsdill said. "He said yes and I had to pursue it."

The first player Stogsdill called was former Jayhawk standout Jill (Larson) Bradney, the Silver Bullets' top pitcher. Bradney, an all-American and three-time all-Big Eight selection while playing third base and pitching, holds KU's batting average record at .400, set in 1979.

Bradney told Stogsdill to go for it and she did, asking most of her slowpitch team, which has done quite well, to join the Silver Bullets.

Regarding the team name, Stogsdill's husband, Mike, suggested the Silver Bullets, a la the women's baseball team. Mike's men's team also plays in the league and is scheduled to play the Silver Bullets next Thursday, although Reenie will likely miss because of open house at the school she teaches.

The Silver Bullets don't hold organized practices. Their practices are limited to occasional batting cage appearances.

Stogsdill, who plays second base, admitted the team was uneasy before last week's opener.

"We were all nervous the first game and everybody was yelling at me, 'What did you talk us in to,' " she said. "Afterwards, they said it was so much fun."

Added pressure was put on Stogsdill when several members of the Strikers, the girls team she coaches in the summer, attended the contest.

"I wasn't happy to see them at the first game," Stogsdill said, chuckling. "They could've let me practice first."

The seven men's teams in the league are aware of the Silver Bullets.

"All the guys know there's an all-women's team there," Stogsdill said. "You can here them talking."

Stogsdill said a team member heard talking going on in the parking lot following last week's game.

"Somebody heard a couple of the guys from the other team saying, 'I won't tell, if you won't tell.' "

Too late, the word is out.

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