Heard on the Hill

First-Ever Home Run Punctuates Congressional Softball Game

Rep. Mia Love, Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman were game MVPs

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand greets her interns after the Congressional Women’s Softball Game on Wednesday at the Watkins Recreation Center. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman hit the first out of the park home run in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game’s 10-year history Wednesday just as the skies opened up in the fifth inning.

The triumphant Bad News Babes and the members’ team hurried off the softball field as soon as the coaches agreed to call the game.

The Bad News Babes, made up of women of the Washington press corps, were already up 2-0 before Bowman’s blast. But the shutout didn’t dampen the cordial attitude of the women on the field.

Everyone was playing for women with breast cancer — the game benefits the Young Survival Coalition — and everyone had some fun doing it.

Most Valuable Player awards after the game went to Bowman and members’ pitcher Mia Love of Utah.

Watch: Members Fail to Beat the Press — and the Rain — at the Congressional Softball Game

Huffington Post’s Jen Bendery scored twice and Bowman’s home run drove in Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune and Leigh Ann Caldwell of NBC.

“It was a called shot,” media team coach Carl Hulse of The New York Times said after the game. “I knew that she would homer.”

While the press pitcher Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report allowed no hits, that didn’t stop the members team from talking smack.

“She is so afraid of you!” members’ coach Rep. Ed Perlmutter yelled to Sen. Kristin Gillibrand, D-N.Y., about Walter while the senator was at bat. Gillibrand, a strong hitter for the members’ team got a walk and Rep. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., went in as a pinch runner for her. Gillibrand has a foot injury.

The Bad News Babes and the Members of Congress shake hands after the Congressional Women’s Softball Game at the Watkins Recreation Center in Capitol Hill Wednesday June 20, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
The Bad News Babes, in pink, and the members’ team shake hands after the Congressional Women’s Softball Game ended with a downpour on Wednesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Another member who was injured, and didn’t play at all, was retiring Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen. As a founding member of the game, the Florida Republican was welcomed to the field with a very special announcement from MCs Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and CNN’s Dana Bash.

Ros-Lehiten was flanked by two toddlers — her granddaughters — who sat with her in the dugout. The members’ team welcomed Sen. Joni Ernst to the field for the first time.

 Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., steps up to bat at the The Congressional Women’s Softball Game where members of the press take on members of Congress to raise money for breast cancer. This year's game was played at the Watkins Recreation Center in Capitol Hill Wednesday June 20, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., waits for a pitch on Wednesday at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Despite the tough score and conditions, Ernst will be back.

“I hope so, it was a lot of fun. I had a great time,” the senator said.

“I feel pretty good. I think everybody just did the absolute best they could,” Ernst said. “We always have to remember that we are playing this game not to win as Congress members or members of the press, but we win because we’re raising money for breast cancer research. Anyway, it’s a great cause, we’re happy to do it.”

The fact that the game made it to the fifth inning was a surprise.

Rain poured down before the game started but it stopped just as the teams wrapped up their warmups. Then the crowd really began to come out, which included staffers and members.

UNITED STATES - June 20: Team Bad News Babes, comprised of members of the press, take a selfie in their dugout after winning the Congressional Women’s Softball Game at the Watkins Recreation Center in Capitol Hill Wednesday June 20, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
Members of the Bad News Babes, who beat the members’ team, 5-0, take a team selfie in their dugout after the Congressional Women’s Softball Game on Wednesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both attended, as well dozens of other members, including Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., who lost his primary last week and was mocked over it Tuesday and Wednesday by President Donald Trump, and Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md. Additionally, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, the star of the Congressional Baseball Game, was there.

Two congresswoman who played in last week’s baseball game played in the softball game on Wednesday: Love and Rep. Nannette Barragan, D-Calif., whose walkup song was  appropriately “California Love.”

Some of the other players’ songs included “Wild Thing” for Livingston, “Sweet Home Alabama for Alabama Rep. Martha Roby and “Won’t Back Down” for Rep. Claudia Tenney. 

There was also some undiscovered talents revealed at the game.

Rep. Sanford Bishop sang the National Anthem to start the game, Rep. Rick Crawford sang “Stand by Me” between innings with country music singer Wil Gravatt, and Reps. Susan Brooks, Lois Frankel and Julia Brownley served as cheerleaders, which involved them running around the perimeter of the field and cheering.

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