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Throwback Thursday: A league of her own

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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's one of the most popular hashtags on social media, and now Throwback Thursday is our newest series of stories taking us on a stroll down memory lane.

Our Jillian Corder sat down with an 88 year old West Monroe woman who inspired not only a feature film, but athletes everywhere.

Take me out to the Ballgame! Though the atmosphere at the ballpark may have changed over the last few decades, but the game remains the same. Seventy years after her professional career, Dorothy "Dottie" Kovalchick Roark proves she's still got it.

Throwback to 1945, when Dottie played for the Fort Wayne Daises.

"Everybody in the world knows all about the league," says Dottie, "You see the movie you know all about it. They put all 12 years, into one movie."

The name Kovalchick was one of dozens that inspired Penny Marshall's 1992 film "A League of Their Own." Dottie says one of the most famous lines from the film, "There's no crying in baseball," simply isn't true.

"The majority of my games, I cried after them. Number one it would be the tension, number two from joy, number three from sadness. There was always a reason to cry," says Kovalchick.

Though the world may recognized Dot for her time playing as a Daisy in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, She most cherishes her years playing with the big boys, before she ever joined the women's league.

"I always make sure they say the men, not the boys," Dottie corrects us. She says other girls may have played ball with boys, but her team was full of grown men.

When she was just 14, her father put her on his men's team, where there was no such thing as going easy on her because she's a girl.

"They would throw at me just as hard, if not even harder to get me out," says Dot.

Playing for the Kovalchick team is how she was discovered and recruited to the girls' league. Once she was there, she realized something.

"I come from a 90 foot diamond, this diamond is about 60 feet, and then a saw them pitching. there not pitching the ball they're throwing like this and underhand," explains Dot.

She didn't throw like a girl. Dot Kovalchick quit the league, rounded third, and headed back home to the men's game she knew and loved.

She played for several more years on a men's team. Now, her pictures hang in museums across the country. In her early twenties, she retired from the game to start a family. Since then, she's written about her amazing years in the dugout and on the field.

It's all in her book "Uncertain Destiny," that's drawn in readers and fans, young and old.

With every fan letter, old picture, and every time the ball hits her glove, Dot celebrates truly being in a league of her own.

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