Last Friday should have been Dave Tittlemeyer's day. A pitcher for Division III Spring Garden College of Philadelphia, Tittlemeyer gave up only one hit and struck out six batters in six innings as the Bobcats beat St. Mary's College of Maryland, 4-1. But one of the Seahawks he held hitless was first baseperson Julie Croteau, who went a historic 0 for 3 en route to becoming the first woman to play NCAA baseball. Croteau was not one of Tittlemeyer's strikeout victims, and she impressed Spring Garden coach Jack Bilbee with the way she "hung in there'" on two-strike counts.
Last year Croteau was cut from the Osbourn Park High team in Manassas, Va., and lost a $100,000 sex-discrimination suit against the school. The 5'7", 129-pound Croteau had less trouble playing for the Seahawks. "Her skills enabled her to make the team," said coach Hal Willard. "It was that simple."
Croteau had butterflies before Friday's game, but she cleanly fielded all six of her chances before being replaced in the top of the sixth inning. Says teammate Charley Bolen, "After the first practice, you forgot she was a girl. That's an honest statement."
HOCKEY NIGHT IN BATTLE CREEK
Roger Gibson was tinkering in his basement one winter afternoon 15 years ago when he accidentally spilled a can of white paint across the floor. Suddenly, a vision splashed across his mind. "I added a blue line here and a red line there," says Gibson. "Before I knew it, there were boards, three tiers of seats, a press box, penalty box, luxury boxes, lights, benches, a scoreboard, concessions stands, players and fans."
The result? Call it the Three-um, that third of the basement in Gibson's Battle Creek, Mich., home that has been devoured by a 12-foot-long and seven-foot-wide facsimile of the Montreal Forum. The "ice" surface—now countless coats of high-gloss paint—is peopled by Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, all fashioned from the pliable skeletons of Pink Panther dolls. In one net is Montreal Hall of Famer Ken Dryden in a characteristic pose, his hands and chin resting on his stick, his gaze forever fixed on the puck in Toronto's zone.
"I just love hockey," says Gibson, a 59-year-old salesman for a building-supply company. "To me the Canadiens—Richard, B�liveau and the rest—have always been the class and color of the NHL. The CH on their sweaters is like the Yankees' NY. Besides, it would have taken too long to paint the Detroit Red Wings' emblem at center ice."
Indeed, construction of the Three-um has taken long enough: The first paint was dropped at 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 9, 1974. "I can't seem to remember my wife's birthday," says Gibson, "but I can still remember when all of this started."
The Three-um includes a functioning 400-bulb scoreboard, TV cameras, sparkplug advertisements along the boards, and a remote-control mini- Zamboni, which comes complete with a cigar-smoking driver. Says Gibson, "All Zamboni drivers smoke cigars—have you noticed?" The Plexiglas above the boards is made from small panes of the real thing. "I haven't spent more than $1,000," says Gibson, "but if I were paid by the hour, it would come to a staggering amount."