Softball Program Sees Numbers Decline

In previous years the VHS softball program never worried about getting enough girls to try out for the varsity and junior varsity level teams. Large numbers of girls anxiously anticipated the start of softball season and the tryouts always brought together a huge number of players.

Not anymore.

It was noticeable by the spring of 2013 that softball turn out had begun to dwindle.  There were no tryouts that season because the program could not afford to cut anyone. Nobody had to worry about playing softball because no matter what their talent or ability, there were not enough players to cut. Still, the varsity and junior varsity level teams at that time were full teams, carrying the maximum number of players.

This 2014 spring season saw another worrisome decrease in girls coming out to play softball. This year there were not even enough girls to carry a full junior varsity team; girls that play on varsity need to play down for some games, and sometimes the JV team cannot even play at all.  This decrease includes a number of girls who have played softball in high school but decided not to participate this year. To make matters worse for the prospects of the program going forward, this year only three freshmen decided to participate.

Not only does the high school team have a huge decrease in involvement for softball, but so do the elementary through middle school level softball teams. Years ago when softball was added to the Verona Baseball League (making it the Verona Baseball and Softball League) the number of girls ready to sign up was immense; so large that there was anywhere from six to nine separate town teams that played each other for the season.

In recent years, beginning in 2010, the numbers of girls signing up for town softball began to fall. This 2014 spring season there are only three teams in the town with just enough girls on each team. In previous years there were so many in town teams that Verona never played outside town teams; now that is the only choice.

There is so little interest in softball anymore that people wonder if softball will even be offered as a town sport in a couple of years. If there are not enough girls, there can be no team, and as the numbers of young girls dramatically decreases, so do the numbers of girls trying out for high school softball because as seniors graduate and fewer players try to join the team, the smaller and smaller the team becomes.

So the question to worry about is: Can Verona hold onto softball?