Girl banned from little league in 1950s to throw out first pitch

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Kathryn Johnston's first love has always been baseball.

"I love baseball because my dad did," said Johnston. "I loved any sport but baseball was my favorite."

When she got a chance to try out for the King Dairies as a 12-year-old, she jumped at the opportunity. Kathryn was willing to do anything to pass as a boy in order to make the team.

"My mom cut my hair off. My braids. What I had left, I tucked into one of my brother's baseball caps," Johnston recalled.

With the braids gone, she needed a new name - Kathryn wouldn't work.

"I said to my mom, 'What am I going to call myself? Kay doesn't sound like a boy's name.' She said 'You are always reading little comics books. Why don't you just take the name "Tubby"?'"

Tubby made the team and became one of the best players on the field. She batted third in the lineup and played first base for the Dairies.

League officials eventually discovered her ruse, though, and grew determined to bench "Tubby" Johnston for good.

"'No girls under any circumstances will ever play little league baseball.' So I can remember, when my dad came home, he said, 'Now look what you've done. Because of you, girls can't play.'...I wasn't going out to be a beacon for girl's rights. I was going out because I loved the game."

The rule would stand for two decades before being overturned by the courts. Now, 64 years later, the league that squashed her baseball dream has invited Kay to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at this year's little league world series in Williamsport, Pa., on Monday.

"I'm more than excited. It's unbelievable that I get a chance to throw out that first pitch."

Kay has been practicing for that first pitch in the back yard of her Yuba City, Calif., home. She said she's determined to show them she still has it after all these years.

Click here for more on this story from our CNN affiliate in Sacramento, KOVR.