BRADFORD — Bradford started a summer softball league this year that has allowed schools, including most of Darke County’s high school teams, a chance to extend the softball season.
in the first year of the league, Bradford, Arcanum, Franklin Monroe, Mississinawa Valley, Newton, Russia, Tri-Village and Versailles have fielded teams each Monday night in June. The five-week league will conclude this coming Monday.
“We wanted to extend the high school season by keeping these girls playing,” said Dustin Brewer, who is the head coach of Bradford’s summer league team. “That way when it comes around for high school ball, they’ve got extra games in instead of having to go and travel to play select ball. A lot of the select ball you have to go and try out; most of them don’t have the money to play select ball.”
Playing every Monday in June has allowed the high school players a chance to continue the softball season without having to travel far for tournaments or play high fees for other leagues, Brewer said. And even girls who do play in other leagues have continued playing with their high school teams, he said.
Another benefit of the league has been allowing coaches an opportunity to experiment with their lineups and playing girls in new positions on the field.
“It’s going real well, actually, real well,” Brewer said. “A lot of good competition. I like, playing on Monday, we’ve still got a lot of the select girls still playing over here. That’s the whole key. We want to get more competition over here.”
In the inaugural year of the league, there are nine teams competing including two from Versailles. The first games start at 5 p.m. each Monday with more games following at 6:30 and 8 p.m.
With the success of the league, Bradford plans to host it in future years as well in addition to trying to add more teams to add to the competition.
“Every coach has been really liking this league,” Brewer said. “And like I said, we’re trying to expand it next year. We’ve got nine teams this year; we’re trying to go a little more. We’ve got plenty of diamonds and a lot of good competition this year.”