By Katie Brownell, 11, a perfect game in the Oakfield-Alabama Little League in upstate New York. On May 14 Brownell, who is the only girl in her league, struck out all 18 batters she faced in an 11-0 win over the Yankees. (She pitches for the Dodgers.) It's not the first time a Little Leaguer has fired a perfecto without allowing a ball to be put in play, but Little League officials have no record of another girl's having accomplished the feat. It made Brownell, a soft-spoken, 5'8" righthander, an instant celebrity in Oakfield, a farm town (pop. 3,168) between Buffalo and Rochester, and last week she blushed her way through a discussion of her gem on Good Morning America. "I can't imagine being a boy that has to face her," league president Eric Klotzbach told The New York Times. "It has got to be a shot to the ego."
As head coach of the Tokyo Apache, former Philadelphia 76ers forward Joe (Jellybean) Bryant. The 50-year-old Bryant, father of Lakers star Kobe Bryant, will begin coaching in the six-team Basketball Japan League when it launches in November. (Rosters will be open to foreign players, but Bryant says his focus will be on developing Japanese talent.) A first-round pick in the 1975 NBA draft, Bryant also played for the San Diego Clippers and the Houston Rockets. His coaching credits include a one-year stint as the girls' coach at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Merion Station, Pa., and three seasons as an assistant coach at La Salle University in Philadelphia. He spent last season as player-coach of the ABA's Boston Frenzy, where he averaged 13.0 points and led the Frenzy to a 5-15 record.
The U.S. Army, by the family of former Arizona Cardinals safety and Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who was killed in a friendly-fire accident while serving in Afghanistan last year. Tillman's parents didn't learn the circumstances of their son's death until after his memorial service last May. In Monday's Washington Post the Tillmans said that they believe the military and the government fabricated a heroic story to stir a patriotic response around the country. "After it happened all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," said Tillman's father, Patrick Sr. An Army spokesman apologized for "early mistakes" and admitted that the service erred in how it reported Tillman's death to his family.
The return of Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, 28, who abruptly retired from football last summer. Williams's agent, Leigh Steinberg, told the Palm Beach Post last week that Williams has a good relationship with new Miami head coach Nick Saban and that he "absolutely" plans to report to training camp in July--even though Williams had said two days earlier in an online chat on SI.com, "I honestly don't know [about playing again]." Before he left football, Williams had run afoul of the league's substance abuse policy (he must serve a four-game suspension if he returns to the NFL). During his absence an arbitrator found him in breach of contract and ordered him to repay the Dolphins $8.6 million.
At age 87, Charlie Muse, an inventor of the batting helmet (above, worn by Mike Piazza). Muse spent 52 years with the Pirates, mostly as the team's traveling secretary. When G.M. Branch Rickey pushed for a protective helmet in the early 1950s, Muse and two designers developed the hard plastic hat, and in '52 the Pirates became the first team to wear them.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In a recent Scorecard story (The Air Up There, May 23) quotes by mountaineer Ed Viesturs were not properly attributed to MSN.com. SI regrets the omission.
CHUCK SOLOMON (PIAZZA)
MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS (BRYANTS)
MARK GUTMAN/THE BATAVIA DAILY NEWS (BROWNELL)