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New generation of girls fight for a league of their own

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- At Beyer Stadium in Rockford, Illinois, sports history is being made. Two hundred girls aged 7 to 17 have come here for the largest girls-only baseball tournament in U.S. history.

Kendra Levesque, 15, plays third base. 

She says it's important to be around other girls of this level because "other girls know what it's like to be a girl playing baseball on an all-boys team back home. They know the extra work they have to put in to be as good as or better than the boys."

Girls at the Baseball for All tournament in Rockford, Ill. CBS News

"I love this game, it's the greatest game on earth," said Justine Siegal, the tournament organizer and founder of Baseball for All, a group whose mission is to empower girls through baseball.

Siegal grew up playing baseball. Siegel was inpsired by "A League of Their Own," the 1992 film about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Baseball execs created the league during the World War II, while many major league players were off fighting overseas.

  All-American Girls Professional Baseball League CBS News

Ninety-year-old Maybelle Blair and 84-year old Shirley Burkovich once played for the all-girls league. 

"We'll never have any Babe Ruths in the major leagues and we don't expect to. All we want to do is have a chance to play our own game," Blair said. 

They've traveled to Rockford to connect with girls like Levesque who, despite the generation gap, share the same dream they once had -- to play ball at the professional level.

"A lot of people don't think girls could play baseball, so you just gotta accept that they don't think you can play and just go and show them differently on the ball field," Levesque said.

Maybelle Blair and Shirley Burkovich played in the All-American Girls Baseball League. CBS News
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