By Tamas Mondovics
The annual Johnson County Little League opening day festivities began with the traditional parade through town, supported by parents, coaches, fans and hundreds of spectators. Aside from recognizing each team, the day’s activities also included the gratitude of s everal much-loved and respected members of the community such as the late Steve Marshall and Gary Woodard. Thanks to the generous support of local businesses, the league enjoyed another special surprise in the form of a check presentation to the Little League from Farmers State Bank and Johnson County Bank for a scoreboard for the softball program at Ralph Stout Park. “Our Little League program has shown tremendous growth and advancement under League President Brian Day,” said Farmers State Bank Vice President and Compliance Officer, Cliff Mahala.
The two banks have equally contributed to the scoreboard, a total of $9,000, but more importantly, to give the players a measure of pride. “This community has given us so much that it is important to give back to those we serve, when possible,” he said. “This was an opportunity to help a league that has benefited so many kids for more than thirty years. It was an easy decision.”
The scoreboard will be 8 feet tall by 20 feet wide and will replace the old board at Ralph Stout Park. Members of the community are all proud of Day’s efforts and accomplishments on behalf of the league including his commitment to bring baseball and softball back into the spotlight. Before Day’s tenure, there was no softball league in the community. Mahala emphasized that prior to the start of the softball program the girls had to play on baseball teams, which of course, fundamentally different from softball. “The Little League Board of Directors made it a priority to bring softball back and properly develop these softball skills,” he said.In 2016 softball returned to the Little League with three teams. Since then, it has grown to five teams with hopes of continued growth in the future. The League has clearly invested time and money into the field at Ralph Stout Park with the help of local volunteers and many donors who are critical to the success of the league.
“When softball play began, it was obvious that the community was excited about the return of softball,” Mahala added. “With its growth over the next couple of years, the need for a scoreboard became apparent.” The League is hoping to have the scoreboard up and installed within a couple of weeks bringing tournament opportunities for the league, and in turn, provide revenue to the county.Ralph Stout Park is located at 210 S Church St, Mountain City, TN.