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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Medill's Musings: Pitching screen needed in softball for safety

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  • Are your ready for another dose of musings? Here we go.
     
    For 19 weeks, I have stressed safety first. In a three-day period, I watched two of our pitchers get nailed by line drives off the bats of hitters.
    I also followed closely the situation of a major league baseball pitcher who was struck by a line drive in the head and the concern became whether he would survive the injury or not. Consequently, I sent the following note to all of our adult coed coaches:
    After months of consideration, in staying with my desire and philosophy to make our playing conditions fun and safe for all, I have purchased a pitching screen to be used in all adult softball games.
    As sports in our country evolve, safety factors are built into the games in all sports at all levels of play. Rules are constantly changing in all sports. First knee injuries brought on several rule changes in football to protect the knees of the athletes.
    Now, concussions have forced major changes in all sports for the safety of the athletes. I say all of this because the initial reaction I have received is that a pitching screen is going to take away from the strategy of the game.  First, let me state that Leavenworth is not the first league going to this safety change — I only wish I could say that I am that innovative.
    It is not an option for a pitcher to choose to use the screen or not use it. This is a mandatory piece of safety equipment to be used during all games from this point forward.
    Rules of play:
    1. All pitchers must use the pitching screen in all adult softball games.
    2. A ball hitting any part of the screen shall be declared dead and the pitch will be replayed. The count remains the same as prior to the screen being hit.
    3. Any pitch thrown and the screen not being used shall be declared an illegal pitch and the pitch shall be declared a ball. If the pitch is hit, the ball remains dead and must be replayed.
    4. On the third violation of this rule, the pitcher shall be removed from the pitching position immediately. The player may remain in the game but may not return to the pitching position for the duration of that game.
    I know standing behind a screen is not the macho thing to do, but it is the safe action for me to take. Pitchers are still able to field their position.
     
    Wow — what an awesome time was had by all at the Havens Wooded 5K Trail Run last Saturday. Our participation almost doubled, with ages ranging from seven-years-old to 64-years-old.
    Page 2 of 3 - The overall winners were John Baragary of Leavenworth and Machelle Collins of Atchison. It was truly a wilderness adventure.
    For the first time, we had nobody get lost in the woods. I know this because I had individuals participating sharing their personal stories of wandering aimlessly through the woods alone in the various first three races. I want to send a shout of appreciation to all of our awesome Park Department employees for the fantastic job they did.
    I also want to thank all of the great volunteers we had participating in our event — we could not have conducted this very successful event without them.
    I want to mention two specific  volunteers and give them very special kudos, Kyler McKeel and De’aire McNeal.  These are two young teenagers who go out of bed, to begin with, and gave up their Saturday morning to assist their city to help make this a very special event for both local and out-of-town participants.
    I would be extremely remiss if I did not mention our fantastic sponsors:  C.A.V.E., Gronis Hardware, Harbor Lights, Henry Martens GM Super Store, Lanterne Rouge, Passantino’s Family Markets – Country Mart, Queen’s Pantry and Tom and Ann’s Haircolorists.
     
    Now, I am all pumped up for the Dec. 1 running of the High Noon Saloon Rudolph’s Red-Nose Run. This run typically draws over 100 runners and they navigate 7.2 tough miles.
    The course begins by the High Noon Saloon and Brewery at 206 Choctaw Street and meanders through the Dwight D. Eisenhower Veterans Administration grounds. It is a beautiful course that has been planned and laid out by Roger Harrison. Hope to see each of you there.
    n After a ton of stumbling and bumbling on my part, our women’s volleyball league successfully got off the ground this past Monday. My cousin, Julie Slater, would be very proud of me. The D’s were victorious in both games as our first night victors were the Dominators and the Drillers.
     
    Our Applebee’s adult coed kickball league forges forward. The league continues to be extremely competitive after four weeks with only three games separating the four teams at this point and only one game separates the top three teams.
     
    Remember that registration is currently ongoing for adult men’s and adult women’s basketball as well as youth basketball. Registration for these activities end on Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. In the youth category, we will be sponsoring the following age groups: first/second grade (coed), third/fourth grade and fifth/sixth grade.
    We are also taking registrations for the Bitty Ball basketball program for kids ages 3-5. The five-years-olds may not be in the first grade.
    Page 3 of 3 -  
    Do not forget that the Haunted Havens Hayride will be held on Oct. 20 from 7-10 p.m. at Havens Park at 22nd St. an Ottawa.
    The cost is $5 per person, children under the age of three are free. In addition to spooky hayrides through the park, the event will also feature bounce houses, trunk-or-treat, and the Leavenworth County Fire Department Fire Safety House. Various food vendors will be available that evening as well.
    This has always been a highlight event every year for our department — and a great activity for the entire family.
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