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Marysville’s Roth throws first pitch at Safeco | SLIDESHOW

SEATTLE — Almost 70 years after she played professional baseball, Marysville resident Dorothy Roth was once again a star on the diamond when she threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the July 24 Mariners’ game at Safeco Field.

“It was like going to heaven,” she said. “Coming out of that dark tunnel, and then going on the field and seeing all those people, and the sunlight and the beauty of it all — it was unbelievable.”

Roth, 86, played first base and left field as a member of the Parichy Bloomer Girls, a National Girls Baseball League team, when she was just 18 years old.

“I played out of Forest Park, Ill. They had this beautiful stadium for men’s baseball, but then the war came out in 1945 and there were no men around anymore. So they started a girls’ team,” she said. “There were about six or seven teams in that location — Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. We used to go play against the Rockford Peaches, the team that they made ‘A League of Their Own’ about.”

Roth played baseball in high school, and during her senior year a scout came out to her school and offered her a spot on the team.

“I was a senior and a scout came by and asked me if I wanted to play,” she said. “He offered me $29 a week, and I was trying to save money for college so I played a season.”

Although she was a professional player, and eventually went to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and then the University of Illinois, she said she wasn’t always proud to be a baseball player.

“When I was younger I was ashamed of it, actually,” she said. “I was 18 years old and girls didn’t play baseball back then. The only sport girls were playing was tennis. When I was playing baseball, I wouldn’t go by the tennis courts because I was ashamed to be in my uniform.”

After graduating from college, Roth got married, had children and moved to the West Coast.

“It was quite an honor to walk on the field with my son and my daughter,” she said. “To have them here was so special. It was quite an honor.”

The Mariners felt honored to have Roth visit and take the field.

“We really enjoyed having Dorothy here, and she got a huge ovation when she was introduced,” said Mariners spokesperson Rebecca Hale. “Outfielder Dustin Ackley caught the ball and posed for a photo with her on the field right after the pitch. He also autographed the ball for her. The pitch, by the way, was right down the middle of the plate.”

Roth said the memory is one that she isn’t likely to forget.

“Everybody was so gracious and really made my day,” she said. “It was wonderful — everyone treated me like I was a queen. It was 70 years ago that I played baseball. I am amazed at what’s happened and how a little thing like that has grown into pitching for the Mariners.”

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