MASPETH, N.Y. (CSD) – Beginning at age 9, Ginny Peiser played softball every chance she got while growing up in Queens. But there was no women’s softball team at St. John’s University when she arrived there as a freshman.
“So, we put together our own team, which was like a club team, got a coach, and won nine of our 10 games,” she said. “I was afraid I was going to have to drop out of school because my father passed away and I didn’t have the funds to continue. But Title IX came along at just the right time, and all of a sudden my sophomore year we had a Division I team and I had a scholarship as a pitcher.”
Several decades later, Peiser is still involved with softball, both as the head varsity girls coach at The Mary Louis Academy, a private Catholic high school, and as the founder and president of the G.O.A.L.S. Athletic League.
G.O.A.L.S. (Girls Organization of Athletics, Leaders in Sports) launched a fast-pitch softball league this year for girls 6-14. An affiliate of ASA Softball, the national governing body of softball in the United States, G.O.A.L.S. is a non-profit organization staffed by volunteers dedicated to the advancement of softball at all levels of play.
“One of the many reasons I started this league is because Queens did not have any windmill style pitching softball leagues,” Peiser said. “This is a league that is going to get kids prepared for high school softball. Most of our coaches are ex-college players, including those who I used to coach and who have come back to help me.”
Featuring a Minors Division for ages 9-12 and a Majors Division for ages 13-14, the league consists of 66 girls in its first season. Another team will be formed in May from a waiting list. Games are played from mid-April through the end of June, including the championship weekend June 25-26.
The G.O.A.L.S. Athletic League, an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s RBI Program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), also includes an 8 and under Futures program involving 45 minutes of instruction followed by 45-minute games, with no scores kept. The high school-age travel team, known as the Queens Lady Rangers, will begin play when the high school season ends. There are also plans for a summer softball league for girls 13-18.
Games are played on weekends at two fields in Kissena Park on Saturdays and a field at Cunningham Park on Sundays, with practice on weeknights.
Those interested in learning more about the non-profit G.O.A.L.S. Athletic League softball program may visit http://goalsathleticleague.com.