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Panhandle youths play T-ball at the White House

The South Berkeley Little League Braves play in front of President Bush and Cal Ripken, Jr.

The South Berkeley Little League Braves play in front of President Bush and Cal Ripken, Jr.

June 24, 2002

WASHINGTON - Scotty Mock slugged an inside-the-park home run Sunday to end the second White House T-ball game of the season as President Bush closed out a four-day campaign urging Americans to exercise more.

Mock, of the South Berkeley Little League Braves of Inwood, W.Va., was the last player to bat, and he knocked the ball off a tee into deep center field. A series of relays by the D.C. Cal Ripken League Cardinals of the District of Columbia failed to reach the plate before he did.

No score is kept in the T-ball games, but the shot provided a rousing finish to the game, in which homeland security director Tom Ridge coached first and District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams coached third.

Bush has been touting the virtues of physical fitness since Thursday, with a White House report on the subject and appearances in Washington and Florida.

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"It's fitting that we end (the campaign) by playing Little League ball," Bush said before the game. "I want parents to encourage their children to exercise - and while the children are exercising, you might want to exercise yourself."

The president also marked the 30th anniversary of Title IX, the law that requires schools receiving federal money to provide equal opportunities for men and women.

"It was a very important initiative that our country aggressively provide opportunity for girls and women to participate in sports at all levels," Bush said. "We want to welcome and herald this important milestone in our country."

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who coached third base for the West Virginia team, was excited to take part.

"I was extremely impressed with the talent and high level of sportsmanlike conduct that our West Virginia team showed," Capito said.

All of the kids played their hearts out. It was as much a three for me to be there and coach third base and watch the game as it was for them to play for the president," she said in news release.

The game lasted one inning with all players having the chance to hit.

Following the game, all players received an autographed baseball and had their picture taken with President Bush and former Baltimore Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr.

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