UNION COUNTY — Following a two-year hiatus, plans are being made to bring Church League Softball back to Union County.
In 2015, during a tough budget year, Union County merged the operations of the Timken Sports Complex and the Union County Recreation Department putting both departments under the same umbrella, calling it Union County Parks and Recreation. At the same time a group of citizens, in the hopes of growing the softball, approached the new leadership with the idea of changing Church League into an Open League to attract non-church teams. The once very large Church League that once had nearly 20 teams had dwindled to as few as eight. The thought was opening it up to open league would allow businesses as well as pickup teams to enter a team into the league in addition to the church teams already in place.
This plan did not work.
The first year of the open league eight teams signed up to play. The second year only six teams made up the league. While new teams did come into the league, all but three church teams left. Many of the church teams suffered the loss of some of their better players to pickup teams, which made the church teams less competitive. Pickup teams dominated the league that was originally built to be a time of fun and fellowship for church teams.
This time, Church League will be different. Instead of being run directly by the county, the league will be governed by a board made up of representatives from some of the teams in the league. The board will oversee the enforcement of the rules and help the league run smoothly. The board plans to make sure players, coaches, officials, and fans act in a Christ-like manner, and represent their respective churches with that same attitude. The league will play under USSSA Slow-Pitch Softball Rules.
To sign-up, call Dalton Williams at the Timken Sports Complex at 427-0150 or you can call Tyler at 426-0464. Sign-ups run from now until May 26. The plan is to start games June 5. If your church does not have enough to make a whole team but you do have men who are interested in playing Tyler can help put you together with other smaller churches to form one team.
The league’s goal is to have a Christian environment for fellowship and fun through softball. They also hope that Church League Softball in Union can return to what it use to be.
Mon-Aetna Baptist Celebrates after winning the final Church League Championship before Church League was changed to Open League in 2015. Efforts are now under way to revive the Church League with sign-ups running through May 26 and games scheduled to begin June 5.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg.