Sports

Baseball, softball seasons cancelled

There will be no baseball or softball at Yellow Springs High School this spring. Neither team was able to field the minimum of nine players necessary to compete, though they both started the season with hopes of playing.

“I’m kind of disappointed,” said junior Katie Triplett who would have played first base and batted clean-up for the girls softball team. Triplett has yet to play softball in high school, as their season has been cancelled for the last three years. She has one more year to compete in a sport she’s loved since she was young.

Coach Bonita Pence attributes the cancellation to a lack of interest in girls sports at the high school and academic ineligibility among some players. Pence said she tried to recruit players before the season but that many didn’t want to commit.

“It’s just heartbreaking when you have some kids who just really want to play,” Pence said. “When it started out I thought we were going to have a pretty good season, but it just didn’t work out.”

The boys baseball team started the year with the minimum nine players, playing its first game on April 7 before having to forfeit the next two games when a sufficent number of players failed to show up. Yellow Springs High School Principal Tim Krier officially cancelled the season last week after another player was injured.

“I think it’s a shame that they got rid of baseball,” said pitcher Austin Pence, who tallied the Bulldogs first, and last, RBI of the season in the team’s only game, a 30–1 loss. “I’m basically stuck hoping next year we have a team, unless I was to move to another district.”

“We tried to make it work because it’s worth doing,” said Krier, who decided that even with nine players many games would have to be forfeited and recovery time for pitchers wouldn’t be long enough.

Last year the high school fielded a baseball team even after many players left for the tennis team, partly because two female players joined. The team went 1­–15 and enjoyed competing, according to 2010 coach Ted Donnell. Strict rules requiring that players attend all practices may have contributed to the cancellation of this year’s season, since many students have a hard time committing to practice, Donnell said.

New rules passed last week by the district exempt students who play in two sports seasons from needing physical education credits. Krier hopes this change spurs a comeback for the sports that have been struggling, since participation in extra-curriculars typically improves a student’s grades.

“We want to do as much as we can for all students so they can follow their passions,” Krier said. “Sports are extraordinarily important from the whole-child perspective.”

Next year Austin Pence will be faced with the decision of whether or not to leave the district to play, since he still hopes to receive a college scholarship for baseball.

“Baseball is pretty important to me because it’s my favorite sport — it’s what I’m good at,” he said.

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