St. Aloysius, Vicksburg, WC begin summer fast-pitch league|[06/05/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 5, 2007

For the past couple of summers, high school fast-pitch softball coaches in Warren County talked about starting a summer league to keep their players’ skills sharp in the offseason.

Monday night, the idea became a reality at Bazinsky Park.

Vicksburg High, St. Aloysius and Warren Central are playing in the league. Because Warren Central has so many players, the Lady Vikes have two teams – a blue squad and a red squad.

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Except for this week, when the teams play Monday and Wednesday, games will be played Monday and Tuesday night every week until the end of June.

&#8220We don’t care about winning,” Vicksburg co-coach Lamar Shelby said. &#8220We want to worry about working on hitting and fielding. That’s what it’s all about. Winning out here in the summer don’t mean a thing.”

On the league’s first night, Warren Central’s blue team claimed a 5-3 win over the Lady Vikes’ red team before Vicksburg won 5-4 over St. Al in the five-inning nightcap.

Because the outcomes of the games don’t carry any meaning and because some players have schedule conflicts with work, camps and vacations, the atmosphere of the games are less intense than during the season. After a Missy Gator batter smacked a foul ball down the third-base line that nearly hit VHS co-coach Rick Hanks, he walked to the St. Al dugout to retrieve a batting helmet he jokingly wore for a couple pitches.

Seniors who graduated aren’t eligible to play in the league, St. Al coach Gene Rogillio said, which gives younger players a chance to step into new positions and gain experience. All three of the Lady Flashes’ pitchers who showed up for Monday’s game got their turn in the circle, while the Missy Gators also used three pitchers.

&#8220This is going to benefit them a lot,” Rogillio said. &#8220The main thing this does is it keeps the team together, and you get a look at next year’s ball team a year in advance.”

VHS rising junior Claiborne Bryant, who went 2-for-2 with a run scored, said playing with her high school teammates in the summer is fun and beats the alternative: sitting at home.

&#8220When you’re out playing all summer, it helps,” Bryant said.

Though Monday was only the first night of league play, coaches already were looking toward the future.

&#8220This year we started kind of late putting it together so it’s just us, Vicksburg and St. Al,” Warren Central coach Dana McGivney said, &#8220but maybe next year we can expand it and make it a little bigger.”