Friday, April 25th, 2014

New youth baseball/softball league formed in Mount Sterling

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

A group of volunteers is working to bring youth baseball and softball back to Mount Sterling.

The village has been without a youth league since 2011, when the former league disbanded. Since then, village officials have rented out Mason Park, home to previous local leagues, to a group from Grove City.

“I remember when baseball and the pool were the big talk in town… With no pool and no sports now, kids in Mount Sterling don’t have anything to do in the summer. I decided it was time to form a new league,” said Michael Browning, a Mount Sterling resident.

Browning was last involved with youth ball programs in 2009. He stepped down to follow his children’s sports activities at the middle school and high school levels. He’s back now, he said, to make a difference for other children in Mount Sterling.

He has some help. The board for the newly formed Mount Sterling Eagles Youth League held its first official meeting in November. Browning serves as president. The other officers are: Joe Tadlock, vice president; Shawn Stevens, treasurer; Fonda Tadlock, secretary; and Deanna Stevens, concessions chair.

“None of us on the board has kids young enough to play. I think that shows a big commitment on our part,” Browning said.

The group has already succeeded in securing use of Mason Park for the league. The plan is to hold player sign-ups in late January or early February, with the season starting in April and running through late July. The league will offer baseball and softball for boys and girls ages 5-15.

The big push now is for funding. A few donors have supplied seed money, but more is needed to get the league up and running, Browning said.

“We are basically starting this league from ground zero,” he said. “We have no equipment, no nothing.”

The league needs everything from bases to catcher’s gear and needs to get the five fields at Mason Park back in playing condition.

“The fields are grown over. There are ruts in the outfield. All of the diamonds need a lot of dirt to make them playable,” Browning said.

League organizers are doing what they can to get their name and needs out to the community. They passed out informational flyers during trick-or-treat and slated a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 7 at the Mount Sterling Comunity Center. They are waiting to hear back about their application for 501(c)3 non-profit status which, if they get it, should help to attract donations.

In addition to funding, the league is seeking additional board members and volunteers.

“Starting a brand new league is a lot of hard work. The group we have is willing to plow forward, crunch the numbers and hash out ideas,” Browning said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.”

For more information, go online to www.leaguelineup.com/mtseyl or contact Michael Browning at (614) 804-3311.

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