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Copyright 2017 The Evansville Courier Co.
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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)


Mark Craig had an idea. If Don Mattingly could spearhead the local RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program, why not try to do the same thing with fast-pitch softball?

"We approached the North youth baseball program and went to them and discussed starting a girls' fast-pitch (league)," Craig said. "There was a segment of the community that wasn't being served."

Registration will be held Friday at Garvin Park. The fee is $25, but "if you cannot afford it, we will find a way to subsidize that," Craig said.

Any girl regardless of skill level is encouraged to play. Craig is seeking dedicated coaches and team sponsors. The league will start on June 14 at Garvin Park and end before school starts.

Teams will play two games a week, at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. The Garvin Park Girls' Fast-Pitch League will be comprised of two age groups: 8-11 and 12-14. For more information, call Craig at (812) 423-0513.

"This is a very instructional and fun league," Craig said. "There is zero tolerance for abuse toward players, coaches or umpires. We are taking a stand against umpire abuse."

As a high school baseball ump, he knows what he is talking about. He said no negativity will be allowed.

"The only way is to shut it down," Craig said. "We are not going to accept it at our ballpark. We want these girls to have fun and develop relationships. Some equipment will be provided. We'll come up with what we need to come up with. We will find a way and that means sharing gloves."

Craig said he has personally raised $1,200 to help get the league off the ground.

"We'll have fundraiser during the season," he said. "Every program has a fundraiser."

During his playing days, Craig was a member of Winchell's, which won five national slow-pitch titles.

"I managed the first sports park here in Evansville," he said. "My background is strong in softball and baseball. I've umpired college baseball and softball. I've run the gamut. I know the ins and outs of slow- and fast-pitch."

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June 7, 2017


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