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Take a deep breath, and get ready

Well, it's finally here, that season that has always gone so well with American pie and Chevrolet-yes, I speak of baseball and softball.

The city is working like a stirred-up hill of ants, putting the finishing touches on the facilities at Beeland Park, and student athletes have been on the fields now for about two weeks, preparing for very rigorous schedules.

Dirt is being spread on the fields, the concessions and rest room facilities have received a fresh painting, and the complexes look very impressive.

I had the task last night of putting all of the schedules for area schools' baseball and softball teams together on a master calendar, and let me tell you, there are a lot of games to be played!

While there are only 11 games on the schedule from 10 teams this week, next week, the first "full" week of March, there will 16 games, and three of them double-headers; Fort Dale will play two and Greenville Academy will play one.

The girls' softball teams in the north half of the county are starting earlier than those of the two southern schools, but it promises to start "wide-open" for the latter when they complete tryouts and begin play.

It will be an interesting year also, for the two AISA softball teams.

Both schools have opted to change their team formats to that of "fast-pitch"-neither Greenville Academy or Fort Dale have played fast-pitch before, although some of the players have participated in other locations that did.

The public schools will continue to play "slow-pitch" for this season, although there is a lot of buzz about a transition.

I am looking forward to the change, and eager to see an active participation factor from spectators.

I also encourage my children to go to the games, as Beeland Park is so close to our home.

Distance should not be a factor in the choice to attend the games, though-there is ample parking, no matter where you are coming from.

So grab a ball cap, throw on some comfortable clothes, and come on out to the fields to show your support to the teams.