Registration has been slow for softball

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 7, 2001

Registration is still underway for softball at the Greenville Parks and Recreation Department, and Director Jerome Harris is more than just a little concerned with the results.

"So far, we have only registered 102 players for softball," said Harris. "Last year we had more than 300 girls playing."

Harris said that he feels this reduction in registration is due to the transition taking place, as programs change from slow-pitch to fast-pitch.

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"The girls will end up playing against the same girls they always have in City Leagues, and the other programs are all making the change too," he said. "That is what people need to understand-our girls are not the only ones making the change-all programs are, so there won't be anyone pitching 'hundred mile per hour' fastballs."

Harris said that because of the low registration numbers, the amount of teams is very small.

"We have three teams of big girls, ages 13-18," Harris said. "That is a shame, because early teenagers are having to play with high school girls."

"There are also four teams of nine through 12 year olds, and two teams of seven and eight year olds," Harris said.

Harris said there is another way to see the drop in numbers.

"Last year, we had so many girls playing, and so many teams, that we had to break down the age brackets further," Harris said.

Tryouts are fast approaching, Harris said.

"For the 9-12 year-old-girls, we will have tryouts on Apr. 10; the 'cupcake' league, which is the 7-8-year-olds will be trying out on Apr. 12," he said. "We would like to have at least four teams for the 13-18-year-olds, because there will be at least a little more challenge for the players, so we are still taking applications."

Harris said that every Parks and Recreation Director he has spoken to is experiencing the same trouble with softball this year.

"We would certainly feel better knowing that we had more participation," Harris said. "We only have less than half the interest in the program versus last year."

The programs for adult softball have seen an increase in interest, according to Harris.

"This year we are offering a church league-we have never had one before," he said. "We have six church league teams, seven men's teams, and five women's teams.

Also, the tentative opening date for the new softball facilities on the west side of the city is scheduled for April 20," Harris said.

"Our programs are geared to prepare the kids for the future-and this will help them get into colleges-slow-pitch is basically gone," he said. "If the girls don't get in during the transition period, while all the teams are in the learning stage, they won't be able to compete later."