By John Benton
TERRE HAUTE — In a recent column, I referred to the declining numbers for adult softball teams. This observation may not have been entirely accurate as we find at least three local leagues doing extremely well in terms of participation. The Terre Haute Church League as well as the Terre Haute YWCA/YMCA and Brazil YMCA programs are enjoying very successful seasons to date.
The always popular Terre Haute Church League has 41 adult teams participating in its summer league program. With games played at 1075 North Fruitridge Ave. adjacent to the Northside Community Methodist Church, the program has been forced to turn away 5 to 10 teams each of the last two seasons. Playing on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings are a total of 30 men’s teams, while Friday evenings is reserved for the 11 team co-ed league.
Noteworthy this year is the effort of the First Baptist team. After winning a total of four games in the past two seasons, the First Baptist team now finds themselves with a 6-0 league mark and atop the Tuesday night “A” league.
League officials encourage the public to visit their family friendly facility.
The Brazil YMCA program, under the guidance of first year administrator B.J. Hull, is enjoying another season of success. Always a hotbed of adult softball action, the YMCA program has 29 teams enrolled in league play. Included in that number are eight church co-ed teams, 14 adult leagues co-ed teams and seven men’s league teams.
The program’s strong suit is the adult co-ed league play. Teams such as Akers, Chop Shop, Cottonwood Corner and Schurick Heating and Cooling make the league play highly competitive.
Another league enjoying success is the Terre Haute YWCA/YMCA program. While league numbers were not available, they are reported to be in excess of last year’s program. The Terre Haute YMCA program offers league play for both co-ed and men’s teams.
Also using the Terre Haute YWCA/YMCA facility, located at First and Farrington, is the in-house Union Hospital league.
A common denominator for all for the leagues discussed above is the lack of playing facilities. The Terre Haute Church League has been forced to limit participation due to time and field constraints, while the Brazil YMCA and the Terre Haute YWCA/YMCA leagues are forced to play on undersized fields. League administrators should be commended for their efforts in trying to meet the growing needs of their teams.
Another local men’s adult team making waves on the statewide level is the Dehart’s Rental squad. Player/manager Ryan Dehart has assembled a strong team by combining local talent with a number of Indianapolis-based players.
The local talent includes Chris “J.V.” Dehart, Ryan Dehart, Josh Hall and Jeff Biggs.
Other Dehart players include Luke Baker, Darrell Buck, Josh Johnson, Dan Chadd, Robert Schmitz, Jeff Thomas and Jerry Williams.
During the 2008 season, the Dehart’s Rental team has competed at the highest possible level in Indiana slow pitch softball. They have traveled to Seymour, New Albany, Kokomo, Muncie, Crawfordsville and assorted Indianapolis facilities. This weekend, they will be participating in the always-strong Louisville (Ky.) Invitational.
For a first-year team, the Dehart squad has acquitted themselves well, but has failed to meet early-season expectations. They have also fallen prey to simple bad luck. As such, they have lost games by 42-30, 50-38 and 29-28 scores. Somehow they seem to meet teams on a hot streak offensively.
Entering the buildup for state and regional play, it is anticipated that their early season tough schedule played by the Dehart’s Rental team will certainly prove beneficial.
Rumors of a revitalized “Green Dome” squad of West Terre Haute boys are circulating through the local softball scene. Surfacing last week in Avon, a squad of former West Vigo Vikings including Kevin Kull, Lenny Leclercq, Billy Nevill, Erick Favre and Jason DeSanto managed to win a round robin title.
The former Vikings were joined by Travis Sutton, Zach Morgan, Jason Payton, Ryan Carter, Darren Chaney and Gary Potter.