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Cal Ripken Jr. Throws The First Pitch At Mount De Sales Academy’s New Turf Dedication

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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CATONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ)—It’s a big day in Catonsville. One of the country’s top Catholic high schools finally has athletic facilities to match its academic reputation.

As Mike Schuh reports, Cal Ripken Jr. was on hand for this special event at Mount de Sales Academy.

One hundred sixty years ago, the all-girls school began in Catonsville.

It was filled with bright faces and smart minds, but their competitive athletic teams were saddled with a crummy athletic field.

“It wasn’t really a good field, but it was still playable,” a student athlete said.

A couple of years ago, the sisters made a commitment to do something.

“We’ve had a softball team for over 20 years, and they’ve never had a home game,” said Sister Mary Thomas, principal.

They now have a new field– one designed for all eight sports by one Hall of Famer and his company.

“I have to say this is one of my most exciting days for me because two of my heroes are in this gym, and that is Archbishop William Lori and Cal Ripken. Cal has just come in,” said Sister Phillip Joseph.

Archbishop William Lori drew the holy water duties, and had the water not fallen from the sky, the students would have been outside.

Back indoors, the Iron Man gave the symbolic first pitch. It was a great day for this school and for the girls who play.

“It felt really good because you have a view of your school and you know that your friends and the sisters can come and watch you play,” a soccer and softball player said.

“It makes the game a lot faster and it’s really great overall,” said Abby Zalucki, softball player.

“I have a special place for a girls’ school,” Ripkin said. “My daughter went to a girls’ school, and I’ve had great experience coaching some of those girls, and I shared some of my experiences with them today.”

The school still has to raise a half a million dollars to finish paying for the field.

The school says it’s now raising money for their next project, a performing arts center.

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