- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Softball league has lack of interest
By TAMMY SHOWALTERStaff writer
A softball league that provided a place for high school athletes as well as incoming freshmen and returning sophomores at the College of Southern Maryland and other local colleges a chance to polish up on their skills during the summer months will not be in operation in 2012.
“It is with deep regret that I must inform you that there will be no Big League Softball in District 7 for 2012. District 7 did not have enough Big League softball players to form a multiple-team league,” Waldorf Little League president Ed Wojtkowski said via email. “We could have formed a single team, but there are no Little League teams within a reasonable commute that we can play and have a legal season.”
Waldorf Little League will still host the Big League East Regional All-Star tournament July 24 to July 31 and the hope is to also have an eligible senior division softball team from District 7 to participate in the tournament.
Monty Wood, manager of the District 7 Big League Softball All-Star team for the last three seasons, said he is heartbroken to hear the news of the canceled season.
“We had a core group of kids who came so close to going to the World Series the past several years, and they wanted one more good shot at it,” Wood said. “We could have fielded a very competitive team to represent Southern Maryland and the state of Maryland, and we would have had a decent chance at going to the World Series, but we just didn't have enough players to form a local league, and that's what Little League wanted."
Chopticon first baseman Cheyenne Faunce, who played Big League last year, was practicing with Wood and her father James, who would have been an assistant coach, and was looking forward to another shot at Kalamazoo, Mich., the home of the Big League World Series.
“I am very shocked,” Cheyenne Faunce said. “It was really a big let down when I found out [about not having a season]. I was really looking forward to the season and to be with all the girls again. Practices were going very well. We didn’t have a lot of players, but we had talent. Monty [Wood] and my dad really tried their hardest to get the team together.”
Cheyenne Faunce will be attending the College of Southern Maryland in the fall and will be playing softball for the Hawks. She plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina (S.C.) in her sophomore year.
Mike Garner, head softball coach at the College of Southern Maryland, saw his daughter Brooke (Thomas Stone) play center field for Chris Windsor on Baden-Aquasco. Mike Garner said that it’s terrible and shocking that Big League won’t exist.
“I don’t think it will affect them [the existing CSM players] too much because we are playing fall ball for the second straight year,” he said. “I would have liked to have seen some of the girls give it one more shot at the World Series.”
Mike Garner said that his incoming freshman, who would benefit from Big League, are playing travel ball so he’s confident that the Hawks will remain competitive and strong.
“I think the commitment to the game and other sports like lacrosse has changed so much, and that’s why we have the decline of ladies that want to play softball, period,” he said.
Wood had done some recruiting to gather up interest and get a team on the books to open a season. Northern High School 2011 graduate and Mount St. Mary’s University pitcher Danni Cummings was one of those who would have been new to the roster.
“Monty Wood approached me for practices and the goal of the whole team from the start was to make it to Kalamazoo, and it wasn’t going to be hard for us to get there,” Cummings said. “I think we had some good talent on the team.”
As for the future of softball, Cummings said it could go either way.
“I think the Women’s College World Series is becoming very popular among people everywhere,” Cummings said, “however, I think we are losing girls. Women’s lacrosse is becoming more popular every year and for some younger kids, I think a sport like lacrosse where you are always doing something is more appealing than a game like softball where you could be in the field for an entire inning and never see the ball. Softball requires practicing often to better existing skills and it takes time away from them, time that they could be doing other things that technology has put in their hands.”
Cummings also said that the new fairness rules and the fact that teams now hand out trophies to all teams has taken the competition right out of the game.
“One of my assistant coaches once told my team that we had no killer instinct,” Cummings said. “I see that a lot now. People are too content with being second best and they no longer know the difference between being a sore loser and being competitive.”