By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
High school baseball and softball are not the only two things gearing up in Johnson County. Little League is busy trying to get a jumpstart on the 2016 season.
They recently had their election and tabbed Brian Day to be the league’s new president. He’ll be assisted by Gary Woodard, (Vice-President) who is one of the veteran league officers from past years.
“We took on some new board members, but we’ve still got our safety officers and me,” said Woodard. “Brad and Tina Reece are still here and so is Michelle Arney. Cliff Mahala is our treasurer. We’ve got some old ones still here but we’ve also got a few new ones too.”
Woodard and league officials have been busy conducting signups so far. He stated that some kids have chosen to play travel baseball.
“We’ve had a pretty good turnout for signups,” added Woodard. “We’re looking at possibly having five teams. We’ve got some kids who are playing travel ball so it might be more like four instead of five or six. Kids can play both in our league but it’s hard to do that sometimes. You need them here for league play and sometimes they need them there on their travel teams if games fall at the same time. We don’t want to discourage any kids. We encourage all of them to play somewhere.”
This will be the first year for Day and others as key board members but Woodard said they’ll all do a great job. He said the manager slots are pretty much filled for the upcoming season.
“Kevin Icenhour will take over as manager of the Dodgers. Brad Reece, T.J. Brown and I will all have teams and there could be another one.”
Michelle Arney will head up the T-Ball league. The “Little Tikes” will once again be playing games at Ralph Stout Park.
“That’s the plan,” said Woodard. “We will try and split the field between them and softball. We also have fields at Roan Creek and the nursing home if needed. We have several places where we can play so finding a field shouldn’t pose a problem.”
The league should look no further than Kirksey Field to play their softball games. Elizabethton leagues play games on the Cyclones home field and at Happy Valley.
“We need to try and push girls’ softball,” said junior high head coach Greg Reece. “This is vital for our program and the high school. I’m willing to do whatever to help them out. We need a good number of girls to turn out.”
The league will have a final signup on Saturday, March 7th at Cunningham Field. It will take place from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm upstairs in the Little League conference room.
The price is $45 per player and an additional $25 for each family member.
We’ve got a lot of things planned but getting kids signed up is priority,” added Woodard. “We hope to have a great number sign up on Saturday. We can always use more players and parent volunteers.”