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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : sports : local October 03, 2015

4/10/2012 5:43:00 PM
Chino Valley launches softball league

Nicholas DeMarino
The Daily Courier

The Jennifer Smith hoped to field 60 girls for Chino Valley's first Arizona Amateur Softball Association season.

As January warmed up to February, Smith, president and driving force behind the nascent league, watched registration swell from zero to 85.

"It was a surprise, a happy surprise, and we've even added since then," Smith said, noting another 15 girls were sponsored to join.

The final tally is nearly 100 girls, ages 5-18, divvied into eight teams.

Now it's time to play ball.

Opening Day 2012 is 9 a.m. Saturday, April 14, at Chino Valley Community Center, 1615 N. Road 1E., in Chino Valley. The ceremony celebrates teams and sponsors and includes a raffle drawing for players.

In terms of games, 4- and 5-year-olds play at 8 a.m., before the event, and at roughly 9:30 a.m., afterward. Teams in the eldest age bracket, 18-and-under, play later that day.

The event also involves teams from Prescott Girls Softball Association, another bud on the state's branch of Amateur Softball Association teams.

"It's the more the merrier, as far as we're concerned," Randall Bryan, president of the Prescott group, said. "This gives us more teams to play and gets more girls involved, so it's a win-win."

The Prescott league drew about 150 people this year, ling up nine teams. Previously, they brought in about 100 more players, Bryan said, so additional match-ups fill fresh lacunas.

"They'll be in our schedule, which helps expand competition in some of the age divisions," Bryan said, further noting the Prescott league hasn't traditionally hosted opening day celebrations.

"It's a nice thing for the girls to have an opening ceremony like this," he said. "It gets everyone in the same age groups all together at the same time, and I like that idea of promoting girls softball teams in the Tri-City area."

Smith started work on the Chino Valley league mid-last year. Softball age groups include 4- and 5-year-olds, 8-and-under, 10-and-under, 12-and-under and 18-and under.

In years prior, girls played on area Little League teams. Smith said about 30 girls joined the new league from that player pool.

"I have nothing against Little League ... but this is something that's just for the girls, where they take center stage," Smith said. "This also expands the age range by a couple of years."

Don Fishel, the state commissioner of the Arizona Amateur Softball Association, said it's nice to see another team on the map.

"ASA softball is something where players can play in leagues, but also play on teams for tournaments all around the state, all year long," Fishel said. "The communities here are buying into the program, and, eventually, I think you can expect to see more communities start their own ASA youth softball programs."

Although things went smoother than she anticipated, Smith said there was one major issue facing the Chino Valley startup. They only had one field.

"Prescott's really been a big sister group to us, taken us under their wing and helped us get started," she said. "They're letting us use their fields at Heritage Park. Without them, we wouldn't have been able to do this."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012
Article comment by: A fan of Jennifer's

Congrats Jennifer!! You have done an incredible job and this league would not have been as successful without you. Girls deserve nothing less than the best and now that have it thanks to you.

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Article comment by: Mother of Two Softball Players

As the mother of two daughters I am very glad that Chino Valley now offers the girls an alternative. Both of my daughters played under Little League (both baseball and softball) and it was a less than stellar experience. And based on the number of girls who signed up obviously several other parents in Chino Valley feel the same way. Little League is a wonderful organization but lets face facts, Little League has, is and always will be primarily about boys' baseball.

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Article comment by: Wow oh

Girls were already playing softball in CV, now it's under the direction of a lackluster ASA. It should not be overlooked that PGSA's numbers are way down. There is a reason for that, it is important and should be seriously figured out. The reason is ASA, PGSA are not ran well. Getting girls out on the field for 6 weeks standing around, learning little is not getting girls what they need, which is a real softball experience. Is it really about developing players or something else

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Article comment by: Chino Newbie

Oh come on "do the math"...such sour grapes about girls softball. Let the kids play and have a good time! If they want to play tournaments great! It's time for girls AND boys to get outside. It's healthy.
Now if we can just find a way for the kids to have their skate park here in Chino...

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Article comment by: Go Girls

It is great that there are that many dedicated girls in the area that wants to play at the competative level that the Chino Valley ASA will offer. They must have the number of fields incorrect in the article though because in addition to having the Community Center on Saturday mornings they also have two fields at Old Home Manor seven days a week.

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Article comment by: To do the math

I cant tell you why PGSA numbers are down, it could be one in a million reasons, but the big deal for ASA is the start of a brand new league. It doesnt matter who agrees or disagrees with weather the ASA league is great or not the bottom line is more girls are playing softball in Chino Valley. Tournament play is a great plan for the future but not in the first starting year, Personally I would love to see it take off in future years. Way to go to Jennifer, Randall and Don. The time, effort and care you put in should not be overlooked!! Good luck for a fantastic season

Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Article comment by: Do the math

So PGSA had 100 less registrants this year from last, and Chino Valley girls softball played through their Little League program but are now doing ASA with PGSA? Same girls who played LL but are now doing ASA, and PGSA lost a 100!!! girls? This does not sound like a big deal for ASA, it sounds like they need to figure something out. Nothing to get excited about, Jennifer. Appreciate your effort, but ASA is not all that it's cracked up to be. Softball here is same-o, same-o. Don thinks these girls are going to play tournaments year round? Ya right.

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