Baseball in Carbon County is self-explanatory. It's a beloved sport played among youth for decades with leagues for all ages that run throughout the spring and summer. Some leagues are named after baseball legends like Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth. Girls, left without many other options including softball, have participated with the boys for years, joining them on the diamond to learn the fundamentals and play the game known as America's pastime. But now for Carbon County girls, they might just be getting a league of their own.
A group of parents and people in the county have come together in working towards creating a Cal Ripken Softball League in Carbon County. The league is open to all girls of Carbon County including Price, Wellington, Helper, East Carbon and Sunnyside.
Seeing how other cities in the state including Nephi, St. George and Salt Lake City have successful operating leagues that provide a chance for girls to learn the fundamentals of softball, progress as players and enjoy a competitive environment for the girls are just some of the reasons the league is starting up, according to Lorla Fossat, league board member.
Currently there are plans to have three separate divisions: 8 and under, 10 and under and 12 and under, Fossat said. The league will be for all girls between 6 to 12 years old.
Growing up there were not as many opportunities for girls playing softball as there are now, Fossat said. Creating a softball league for the girls will help provide opportunities to learn and grow as players, she said.
"We want to help the girls learn the game of softball and have fun while playing it," Fossat said.
Some of the local fields that have been in discussion for use are the Carbon High field, the Carbon County Fairgrounds and the Posse Grounds, according to Karlene Bianco, league board member.
Parents and girls in the area have said they would like to see a league like this come to the area, Bianco said. While there are other opportunities for girls playing softball including joining traveling teams, options for girls playing softball locally is limited. Many in the area join traveling teams that play other teams from around the state. A downside to that, Bianco said, is that traveling teams spend a lot of time practicing but they only get to play a few games a month.
"Lots of girls should be able to benefit from the league," Bianco said noting that girls will have the chance to play more games throughout the season.
Girls interested in playing softball can sign up for the league on Feb. 16 and 17 at the Lighthouse High School, 251 N. 400 W. in Price, from 6 to 8 p.m. A fee is required for girls in the 10 and under and 12 and under divisions. There is also a fee for girls in the 8 and under division. Girls are required to bring a copy of their birth certificate to registration.
Tryouts will be held sometime after the registration. Girls will then be placed, or drafted, onto league teams. This helps create more balanced leagues and provides a much better playing experience for everyone involved. It also avoids having a team filled with the top players playing a team with girls who are still learning to play the game, Fossat said.
The league is looking to start playing games in April and will continue on through the summer with no set date on a conclusion to the season, Fossat said.
Board members, including Fossat and Bianco, are hoping that the community will support a softball league much like they do with local baseball leagues.
"We're only going to be as strong as the community that supports it," Fossat said.