New­ton Re­cre­ation ready for soft­ball

Open­ing Day is Satur­day at Turner Lake

The Covington News - - Sports - By Alan Howard

The 2008 Youth Girls Soft­ball pro­gram, run by the New­ton County Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion, will be­gin the sea­son with Open­ing Day cer­e­monies Satur­day at the Turner Lake Com­plex.

And for those who have yet to visit the com­plex, they are miss­ing one of the finest fa­cil­i­ties, which in­clude four sta­teof-the-art soft­ball fields.

The soft­ball pro­gram has four dif­fer­ent leagues with 325 par­tic­i­pants. It is run by Jud Hall, ath­letic co­or­di­na­tor at the New­ton County Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion.

The youngest league is the 6 and un­der di­vi­sion, which in­cludes five teams. (Open­ing Day for this league is ac­tu­ally April 14.) It is coach pitch and de­signed to be­gin de­vel­op­ing the young par­tic­i­pants into tal­ented soft­ball play­ers.

The 8 and un­der league has eight teams and is also coach pitch.

“Some say this is the most ex­cit­ing league in the New­ton County Re­cre­ation Girls Soft­ball pro­gram,” Hall says.

The 10 and un­der league, which is where the girls be­gin fast-pitch­ing, has seven teams. Ac­cord­ing to Hall, in this league the girls do all of the pitch­ing.

“Other re­cre­ation de­part­ments do a split sea­son, half with pitch­ing ma­chine and half with girls pitch­ing,” Hall notes. “Girl pitch­ing is the most ex­cit­ing and it is a real soft­ball game.”

The old­est league is the 14 and un­der di­vi­sion, which in­cludes eight squads.

“This league is all about fast-pitch soft­ball,” Hall says. “In this age group, the re­cre­ation de­part­ment does not have enough girls to have dif­fer­ent leagues like 12 and un­der and a 14 and un­der. So, to give the girls a chance to play we com­bine the two leagues.”

Un­like boys youth base­ball, the soft­ball pro­gram does not have an all-star sea­son. In­stead, it has an end-of-the-sea­son dou­ble elim­i­na­tion tour­na­ment.

“Over the years it has be­come very dif­fi­cult to find a tour­na­ment for the girls to go and play in,” Hall rea­sons. “In all stars, we would be play­ing against travel teams, not all-star teams. Last year was the first year that we had the end-of-the-sea­son tour­na­ment in all age groups, and it was a big suc­cess.”

The Turner Lake Com­plex is truly one of the pre­mier soft­ball com­plexes in the state. Each of the four leagues has their own field.

The 6 and un­der league uses the Pur­ple field, which is a 200-foot field. The 8 and un­der league uses the Red field, which is also a 200-foot field. The 10 & un­der league uses the Gold field (225 feet) and the 14 and un­der league plays on the Green field (225 feet).

Open­ing Day at Turner Lake is al­ways an ex­cit­ing day for the fam­i­lies, coaches, play­ers and staff. Along with Hall, the New­ton County Re­cre­ation staff in­cludes Ricky Vaughn, Sher­man Graves, Barry John­son, Ho­race Stroud, James Brown, Arthur Lawrence and Equnoise Martin.

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