They arrived in limousines, wearing their black and gold uniforms proudly and exulting at the lavish attention. They were the Newbury Park Bobby Sox, the girls' softball national champions--and to their amazement, everyone knew it.
Thousand Oaks council members on Tuesday honored the two championship Bobby Sox teams from Newbury Park: the 9- to 11-year-olds and the 12- to 15-year-olds. For the first time in the league's 22-year history, both divisions captured national titles this summer.
Lending the celebration some celebrity sparkle, Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson greeted the young softball players with spirited applause. And Mayor Alex Fiore handed each Bobby Sox team an official commendation from the city.
Several softball players had grumbled this summer that both the press and the politicians seemed to ignore their accomplishments, focusing instead on the championship Thousand Oaks Little League teams. But on Tuesday, they pronounced themselves well-satisfied with the ceremony.
"We're getting the recognition we deserve," 15-year-old Stacie Beshore, a star pitcher and power hitter, said cheerfully.
Meeting council members was a thrill, she added, because "they're older and they have power and stuff, so it's great that they're recognizing our sport."
Before the hoopla at City Hall, the Bobby Sox attended a pep rally in Borchard Park, complete with inspirational speeches from older local athletes.
"It's a moment they will always remember as the end of their long summer of hard work and success, " league President Joseph Joyce said.