The female members of the press won a seesaw battle of softball brawn Wednesday night at the Fifth Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, defeating female members of Congress 11-8 to take home the coveted softball trophy for the second consecutive year.
The contest was close through many of the game’s seven innings, flipping leads several times between the member team and the press, who call themselves the Bad News Babes. But in the top of the sixth, the Bad News Babes opened up a lead that the members could not quite overcome.
Both teams had been gearing up for the game since April in hopes of earning a year’s worth of bragging rights at the charity softball game, which raises money for the Young Survival Coalition. This year the game raised $115,000 for the YSC, which supports young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.
The members were hoping for a win after last year’s 13-10 loss to the press team. They were optimistic they’d win after recruiting freshman Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., both of whom boast impressive athleticism. And while the two played well, their addition to the team was not enough to propel the members to a sought-after win.
Many of the female members had large cheering squads of staff, including Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who came adorned in t-shirts and carrying signs for their bosses.
Although the teams take the charity event seriously, they engaged in witty banter and smack talk via Twitter and through the media throughout the practice season.
“Congresswomen are headed to bed, while visions of victory dance in our heads #GameOn,” Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., tweeted the night before the game.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a breast cancer survivor who launched the game five years ago, said that the trash talk was part of an effort to build a better relationship between the press and the member team.
She added that she always enjoys building relationships with her female colleagues from across the aisle, one of the best parts of the game in such a polarized political climate.
“We'll get 'em next year,” Wasserman Schultz added about the team’s performance.
Approximately 2,000 people showed up for the game, along with Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Hoyer said he always comes out to support the game, which promotes bipartisanship and raises money for a worthy cause.
Thunder and lightning cracked during warm-ups at Watkins Recreation Field on Capitol Hill, sending shrieks through the crowd. However, the rain held out until the very end of the game, and the evening went on as planned.
The game was not without controversy, however. A band of perma-protesting Code Pink members showed up to protest Guantanamo Bay and other issues, singing protests chants to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”