How can local youth softball move away from its status as a side sport in Mariposa County and shine in the spotlight?
The numbers were down last season. But this year, Mariposa Girls Softball (MGS) leaders expect attendance to return to normal levels. Rebecca Hatcher, vice president of MGS, wants to see the program as a whole kick into high gear.
Cohesive community support could make the difference in propelling the local organization into a bright future. New volunteers could guide the future of the organization. Really, no matter how they get there, it all comes down to one common denominator.
“I just think it takes people,” Hatcher said. “We need the community to step up, donate to the softball league. Not only their time, but also their funds.
Hatcher shared how last spring the home league “definitely had below par numbers.” She attributed this primarily to the impacts of the ongoing pandemic, but also pointed to players lost to the Mariposa County Little League Baseball group. Normally, each softball age division would field at least two teams. This was not the case in 2021.
Things should be different this time around.
“We expect things to definitely return to normal this year,” Hatcher said.
The girls who competed last year started their season with pent up excitement. The same could be said for parents and coaches. This year, MGS will start its schedules later so kids can actually play more than previous campaigns.
“Normally when we start the season early a lot of our first games are wasted,” Hatcher explained. “So we will try to push back the start of the season slightly.”
Evaluations will take place and train selections will be made on Saturday, March 19. Team practices will begin the week of March 21, with games scheduled to begin the first weekend in April.
Hatcher said league management is “desperately looking for coaches and board members.” New blood is needed. The league’s opening ceremonies will function as a barbecue this year, she explained – “but of course we need help with all of that,” added Hatcher. “We can’t do it with just a few of us.”
Most softball league board members no longer have children playing in the league. Hatcher was motivated to remain on the board because she believes youth sports are important to local children and the community.
“And if we don’t have people on the board, those seasons can’t happen,” Hatcher said. “And our children need sports. So I would never leave anyone hanging. Especially our children. As long as they need me, I will stay. But we would like to see new people step in and take over.
She encouraged community members to join the council because the work is rewarding. Watching the girls learn and grow is fun and helpful. It also gives viewers the opportunity to join the group and make changes that they think could improve the organization.
The hope is that more parents and volunteers will help change the status of youth softball in Mariposa County. At least one positive effect of investing in the program is clear to Hatcher.
“The truth is that if we continue to train young women in our community, these girls can get scholarships to play ball in college,” she said. “And be set up. Most of our families can’t afford to send their daughters all the way to college, and if we set up a softball program, some of those girls can get scholarships to do that.
A pre-registration form was posted on the Mariposa Girls Softball Facebook page last week. This form can be accessed at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdwdwGqnXlCR6lwPauNER1VNtvFUD2iojACBTNdRMdsd0wA/viewform?fbclid=IwAR263LmKvJG4grorA5kiwT4Yyaw9PFBjLkxNBDwbLbk67 sRuLlM286nwug.
Parents with questions are encouraged to contact league president Autumn Hutchings at [email protected]