Casa Grande softball players finally get their fence

“The girls kept looking at the boys baseball field and asking, ‘Why can’t we have something like that?’” - Casa Grande softball Coach Billy Brody|

It took a village, but the Casa Grande High School girls softball team finally has its outfield fence.

The Vine Valley Athletic League champion Gauchos dedicated their new permanent fence last week and contributors lined up practically from baseline to baseline to be acknowledged for their contributions.

Billy Brody, in his first year as Casa Grande head coach, said the fence has been at least eight years in coming. “It just kept getting pushed down the line,” he said. “The girls kept looking at the boys baseball field and asking, ‘Why can’t we have something like that?’ They kept getting every excuse in the book.”

The girls gave the school a little extra incentive when they wrote “Tittle IX” on the boys diamond near the shortstop position. Title IX is federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

Brody said the fence is a step toward balancing the inequality that still exists between how girls sports and boys sports are treated. “It is a problem in all sports in all areas,” he said. “It isn’t just a problem in Petaluma. It is all over.”

Brody said the project couldn’t have happened without the strong support of the Casa Grande school administration, especially Principal Dan Ostermann and Assistant Principal Erika Noone. “Their support was vital,” he said.

Brody, who has two girls on this season’s team, and his players finally not only got some answers – they got a fence. Although it wasn’t in place until the final regular-season home game of the season. It is now ready for the league tournament and North Coast Section playoffs.

Among the many community organizations who donated labor, materials and support to make the project a reality were: Friedmans Home Improvement, Hansel Auto Group, Henris Roofing, Ghilotti Brothers, Water Savers, De Nova Homes, Argonaut Construction and Golden State Lumber.

The project included not only the fence, but also a new sprinkler system around the diamond infield.

The Gauchos dedicated the fence in the best way possible, by beating Napa 4-0 to clinch the league championship. Fittingly, the first home run hit over the new fence was by Casa Grande’s all-time home run hitter Jamie McGaughey.

Casa Grande combined the fence dedication with Senior Day, honoring the team’s three senior leaders - Cara Broadhead, Kaden Brody and Jamie McGaughey.

Broadhead has played both golf and softball for four years. She is headed to Cal State San Marcos next fall to study molecular and cellular biology.

Brody is going to Santa Rosa Junior College where she will focus on business before transferring to cosmetology school. In addition to playing softball, she has played golf and basketball at Casa.

McGaughey is bound for the University of Hawaii on a softball scholarship. She will study business and communications. She played basketball and volleyball throughout her time at Casa Grande.

The good news about the big day at Casa Grande was that the Gauchos managed to dedicate their new fence, honor their seniors and win a championship-clinching game all under a dark spring sky that held off raining until the festivities were complete.

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