by James Coulter
Last season, Lake Wales Softball only had three teams participating—nearly down to zero!—due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, this season, they have 10 teams with 100 softball players.
Last Friday, the Linton Sports Complex erupted to life with three softball fields teaming with players and bleachers filled with spectators. This year’s softball season has quickly been picking up season following a several-year-long slump due to the pandemic.
Last week was the sixth game of the Lake Wales Softball team. As the old saying goes, it does not matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. This season has allowed its female players to learn and improve their game big time, explained Joe Parker, Vice President of Lake Wales Softball.
We are just blowing it [up] and trying to bring softball back to the city of Lake Wales,” he said. “It is doing pretty amazing on the field. The girls are learning. They are learning their fundamentals. They are getting better every day when they come out here. We have excellent coaches. We are trying to bring positivity back to softball and bring it back to Lake Wales.”
Parker has been involved with softball for the past seven years. He owes the success of the softball team, especially this season, to the support of the community. Both the Yates and Parker families have especially proven supportive, along with the board members who have been doing the hard work of getting things rolling.
“They [the players] are just growing,” he said. “The pitching is getting better, as is their catching. It is a lot of love out here, along with the parents showing their love and supporting us…There has been an excellent game. The talent has been spread throughout the teams, and this year, we have many minors and majors and seniors.”
Anyone looking for a fun evening on a weekend night is invited to head down to the softball field, buy a hot dog and drink, and take a seat on the bleachers to enjoy an old-fashioned ball game. The more locals show their support for the home team, the better the overall season will be.
“If you just want to come out and have a great atmosphere, we have great food from the concession stand, great leadership to approach all of us, including myself, and we have a great show and beautiful smiles on our young ladies’ faces. That is what you should come out and see,” Parker said. “There is a lot of fun out here. It is a safe environment we are providing for our kids, and we want to continue to see it grow.”
For more information, visit the City of Lake Wales website at: https://www.cityoflakewales.com/317/Youth-Activities