OVIEDO, Fla. — Oviedo’s eight & under, and six & under softball teams recently won state championships, but didn’t receive trophies or medals as the boys winners did.
Instead, the Florida Babe Ruth League presented the teams with gift bags containing commemorative softballs.
The league has said they thought the softballs would make a unique keepsake from the tournament, but the players, coaches, and parents have said they were disappointed by the decision.
“It was just so abundantly clear they were being biased to the boys versus the girls,” said Ashlee Partin whose daughter plays for one of the teams. “I want to stand up for my daughter and the rest of the other thousand girls that were there that weekend.”
Now, the Oviedo community is coming together to make it right.
Brett Iacovo, Commissioner of Oviedo’s Babe Ruth Baseball League, has partnered with local business PCPI Services to find a way to honor the teams properly.
“We as an Oviedo community do not tolerate the differences between boys and girls,” Iacovo said. “We believe that we’re all one town or one community, so I felt that there was an opportunity for the baseball side to step up and help out those girls.”
This Friday, the teams will be surprised with a ceremony where each player will receive a championship trophy with their names engraved, as well as championship rings donated by a league in Texas that heard their story.
Their trophies will even be slightly larger than the ones normally handed out for state championships. Iacovo says they purchased the trophies for about $1,400, but the cost was of no concern.
“It could have been twice the amount and it would have been fine with me,” Iacovo says. “Watching them smile when they receive those trophies is going to be worth all of it.”
The ceremony will take place Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Oviedo Sports Complex, and the entire community is invited.
Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek will attend along with the fire department which has offered the teams a ride on one of their trucks.
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