Little League softball holds tryouts

March 10, 2012|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI |
  • Lauren Koontz, 12, of Hagerstown, fields the ball at tryouts for the Halfway Softball League at Marty Snook Park.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Kiley Keadle likes to play baseball.

At 10 years old, she has three seasons under her belt.

Last year, Kiley, of Williamsport, was the only girl on her Conococheague Little League team. In the years before that, there weren’t many more girls, if any.

This season, she decided to try something a little different.

“This year I didn’t feel like playing Little League (baseball). I’m gonna try to play some softball,” Kiley said.

Just as she was considering a change, Halfway Little League was rolling out plans for a Little League Softball program. Designed for girls ages 7 to 12, it is just the second such program under the Little League umbrella in Washington County.

Tryouts for the new Halfway Little League Softball program were Saturday afternoon at the Halfway league fields at Martin L. “Marty” Snook Memorial Park.

Despite her experience, Kiley said she was nervous.

“I’ll just get out there and deal with it,” she said, clutching her bat.

Keli Smith, vice president of the new softball program, said there is another girls’ softball league in the area, but this is only the second that is sanctioned by the international Little League organization.

As boys dream of making it to the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa., girls have a Junior League Softball World Series in Washington state, Smith said.

“We’re shooting big our first year. We’re hoping, if nothing else, it would be great for the girls to get a district title,” she said. “If we get there, great. If not, we just want them to have fun, to tell their friends and to come back next year.”

Kaya Jackson, 11, of Williamsport, is among the girls who haven’t play ball before. She took a flier about the new league home from school and told her mom she wanted to try it instead of cheerleading.

Following tryouts, Kaya said she was feeling good. She said she needed to work on her throws, but was good at catching poppers.

“I look forward to being on a team. I think it’ll be a great experience,” she said.

Alyssa Shoemaker, 11, of Williamsport, has played as a left-fielder with the Washington County Girls Softball League. Sporting a sparkly silver headband with her sweats, she worked the field at Halfway catching grounders, hitting, and taking practice runs to first base.

Alyssa said she hoped she’d get more playing time in the new league. Her father, Rich Shoemaker, said the Halfway program was “a good alternative” for his daughter.

“This is close to home. It’s Little League-sanctioned, so they actually have an All Star team. And it gives girls who are newer to the sport opportunities to play different positions,” he said.

Smith said the new softball league plans to field two minor league teams for 7- and 8-year-olds and two major league teams for 9- to 12-year-olds. Each is expected to have a roster of about 12 players.

“Everybody makes a team,” she said. “This gets girls active and making friends. And the lessons learned here go way beyond this diamond. We’re hopefully setting a foundation for them to be physically fit and healthy, active adults.”

Another tryout is scheduled today from 2 to 4 p.m. at the park.

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