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Adult softball leagues to get rolling in Sandy City

Jun 10, 2016 01:06PM ● Published by Chris Larson

If there isn't a city-wide culture of playing softball in Sandy, there definitely is a familial culture of doing so, Sandy City Program Coordinator Linda Martin said. 

"We're starting to see grandkids come in of people who came in and played back in the day," Martin said. 

Martin has been a program coordinator with the city for 32 years. 

The adult softball program predates the city parks and recreation department with the local YMCA hosting softball tournaments as early as 1984, Martin recalls. Sandy no longer has an operating YMCA. 

"Softball has been around forever," Martin said. "There is obviously a high demand for it if we get 224 teams."

That's how many teams signed up and participated in the Spring/Summer adult softball league this year. This league played once a week. Sandy also fields a fall softball league that is less well attended. The fall league, which plays twice a week, garnered 147 teams last year.  

Martin said that adult softball league currently operates at capacity; there aren't facilities for the program to expand to. The city owns four parks with two softball fields and no plans for new fields or expanding the program currently. 

In its stasis, the program is self-sustaining. The team entry fees pay for the program completely, according to Martin. That includes trophies, game balls, paying umpires and scorekeepers, preparing the fields and general use of the facilities. 

The fall league team entry fee is $275. This year, registration is open from July 11 to Aug. 11 with league play beginning Aug. 29 and concluding four weeks later. Spring league entrants register in January and conclude the third week of July. 

Neither season fields a tournament or other post-season play. League winners are determined by win-loss records. Teams will play a playoff game if there is a tie. 

First and second place teams get a trophy package with the first place team getting championship t-shirts as well. 

Martin said the current winner's prize is in flux because of a lack of interest in trophies, but wouldn't say what options were being considered. 

The city pays for umpires and scorekeepers to officiate the games. The Umpires are hired through the United States Specialty Sports Association while scorekeepers are part-time city employees.

Of the softball experience, it appears that the umping receives the most criticism from participants according to a poll presented as part of a Parks and Recreation budget hearing presented on May 23.

Highlights: City Council honors late city employee, approves utility vacation and hears parks and continued budget hearings - May 25, 2016 11:44AM

Eighty percent of polled participants gave the umping a good or lower rating. But, Martin said this is to be expected. 

"Have you ever played softball?" Martin said. "Their judgment is always questoned, but that's in any program."

Despite the dislike of the umps, the poll reveals that the overall experience of polled participants is a good one with about 55 percent of respondents giving a very satisfied or extremely satisfied rating. 

"My personal opinion is that we run a pretty good program," Martin said.

One comments was starting a four-game guaranteed tournament during the summer. Martin said there are no plans to make any changes to the programs. 

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