Lawmakers got off to a brutal start in Wednesday night’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game, but battled back and finally broke a five-year losing streak to down the Bad News Babes 6-5.
“The member team rarely wins, so this is a culmination of literally 13 years of practice finally coming to fruition,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who led team Congress along with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)
It wasn’t looking good early in the game, with the Bad News Babes, made up of members of the media, scoring three runs to start the first inning.
After battling back to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the third, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) made a crucial tag at the plate, preventing CNN’s Mikayla Bouchard from scoring and preserving the Congress team’s lead.
“My life flashed before my eyes, just before I caught the ball and tagged her out,” Craig said.
After a tight back-and-forth going into the 7th and final inning, the score was knotted at 5-5.
The Bad News Babes threatened in the top of the 7th with a double by Bouchard. However, they were unable to capitalize on the base runner and Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) made a great catch to send the game to the bottom of the 7th still tied.
The game ended in dramatic fashion, with Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) showing crucial patience at the plate and drawing a bases-loaded walk to bring in the last run, with the game ending 6-5 in favor of the pols.
Asked after the game what she was thinking during the final at bat, Cammack replied, “Don’t screw this up.”
Scattered throughout the stands Wednesday night were each player’s crew of supporters, including congressional staffers, fellow journalists, and local D.C. residents. Also in attendance were House majority and minority leaders, Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), cheering on their fellow lawmakers.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) joined CNN’s Dana Bash and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell from the commentator’s booth, providing enthusiastic play-by-play, and fun facts on the players at bat.
This year’s game raised $536,000 for the Young Survivor Coalition (YSC), a group dedicated to providing resources for young women dealing with breast cancer. That broke last year’s record, and brings the total raised since 2009 to $2.6 million.
“This event is so special because breast cancer doesn’t care what side of the aisle you are on,” Jennifer Merschdorf, the CEO of YSC, told The Hill. “It doesn’t care what your politics are.”
Craig told The Hill that this year’s game held more of a personal meaning for her.
“I have a constituent who I celebrated as a survivor last year, and she’s no longer with us,” Craig said. “For Reagan, and Dustin, and Kim, this game was for you.”