From the Past: Mercedes girls sparkled on the diamond

Special to the Parade

Rene Torres

Rene Torres

Softball for girls in the Rio Grande Valley took its inaugural bow in the middle of the 1920s. Since then, many players have come and gone, and what we remember about some is only their names left embedded in the record books.

Somebody said once that if you want to be remembered after your playing days are over, you have to do one of two things—“do something worth writing about or write sometime worth reading.”

In this modern-era of valley softball pitchers, there is no doubt that many have blossomed and gone on to put some outstanding numbers in the books, but I doubt if few could match the pitching feats of Dorothy Hale.

The “tiny” horsehide twirler was the ace of the Mercedes Junior High softball teams of 1927, 1928 and 1929.

Dorothy could pitch from sun up to sun down as she did in 1929. What about a 13-year-old pitcher hurling four games in one day and going out another day to pitch three more and winning all seven?

Impossible! Not for Dorothy, in a three-year period, she led her school and playground teams to 30 victories with no defeats. And in the process, the Mercedes juniors swept the County Softball Championship tournament three years in a row and the district title once.

In three games, during the county meet, the team was circling the bases and putting up some amazing numbers on the board – the Mercedes girls scored 75 runs while their opponents made nine scores.

About the only close game they experienced throughout their history was a 9-5 game in one of the county meets. For the most part, any team they faced was duck soup – scoring up to 50 runs against some opponents.

Was there ever a moment when the pitching ace was in a situation where she might be pulled out of a game? Yes, it came in the championship game of the district meet in 1929.

Dorothy told her coach that she could not continue to pitch because she had a “tummy ache,” but she remained in the game when the coach refused to yank her for someone else.

Although Dorothy attracted the most attention – there were other unsung heroes on the team. Like Geraldine Bone, a first baseman, who could snag wild tosses from other players whether they were high, low, wide or handsome, and with either hand.

In addition to playing a sensational first base – she could also swing for the fences. Geraldine hit three home runs in one game, thus earning the nickname “Babe Ruth” of the Hidalgo County League.

A good pitcher has to have a reliable catcher. With Lydia Adame behind the plate – it was a winning combination. Adame also proved to be a potent dose with the hickory stick as she led the team in overall hitting.

As a result of three county championships, Mercedes came into permanent possession of the county championship “Silver Loving Cup.”

Members of the 1929 team were: Lydia Adame, catcher; Dorothy Hale, pitcher; Geraldine, first base; Patricia Adame, second base; Mercedes Chapa, third base; Grace Reagh, first fielder; Cecilia Mendez, second fielder; Amelia Adame, middle fielder; Hortencia Champion, second shortstop; and Dudce Pue, first shortstop.

Did Dorothy move on to bigger and better things? We don’t know. But one thing for sure, she was a darling on the field and the sparkle of every diamond.

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