Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 24, 2013

Slow-pitch league ready to run

Softball games will be played at new complex in Boyd County

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

COALTON — Can a new slow-pitch league catch on quickly in the area?

Chris Whitt, the adult softball league’s director, has good reason to think so.

“Huntington has 50 to 55 teams right now,” Whitt said. “I think we can get there.”

The league will play its games inside the confines of Championship Fastpitch Sports Complex, a brand new establishment founded by Championship Fastpitch owner Dave Miller. The complex is located just behind the Boyd County Fairgrounds, and while unfinished, the five-field facility is already an eye-pleasing treat.

“Those fields are immaculate,” Whitt said. “We didn’t have anything like that around here. It’s going to be really nice.”

Miller has huge plans for the complex, and he believes it will provide a significant boost to the local economy when it’s all said and done.

It will be constantly abuzz this spring and summer, with fastpitch tournaments filling up the fields on the weekends and slow-pitch keeping things busy throughout the week.

The slow-pitch league currently consists of about 18 teams, said Whitt, and includes men’s upper and lower divisions, a co-ed league and a church league. Teams will play doubleheaders on the same designated day each week. Games will be played Monday through Thursday and will likely begin on Monday, May 13.

“My goal is to recapture and rekindle the slow-pitch market around here,” Miller said. “I think there’s a lot of people.”

The facility has plenty to offer, as the first four fields are being completed at the moment. The grand opening could take place as early as Saturday, May 4, said Miller.

Miller said the fields are similar to Ashland Blazer’s softball field, where Miller is the head coach of the four-time defending 16th Region champion Kittens.

“We have the block wall with nets, the padding on the backstop with a logo, and big, nice spacious dugouts,” he said.

A temporary concession stand will be set up, but lights won’t be installed until probably next summer, said Miller.

Whitt is going into his third year of heading up the league. He said the number of teams dropped to a measly six last year, citing the restrictions of the field they were using at Southside Park as a reason.

While Whitt is pleased with the interest so far, he’s hoping for more church teams to get involved, especially considering the fact that the Ashland Plaza Church of the Nazarene League disassembling.

Hooking up with Miller has opened up several possibilities.

“Moving out (to Championship Fastpitch), we’re unlimited growth-wise,” Whitt said. “It’s great to work with somebody (Miller) that wants to grow as badly as I do.”

Whitt hopes to see the idea of three slow-pitch seasons come to fruition — spring, summer and fall. The spring season will last seven weeks and will culminate with a double-elimination final tournament.

Cost is $500 per team. Individuals interested in playing, but don’t have a team, can contact Whitt at (606) 393-5005 or admin@ashlandsoftball.com. Registration deadline is Friday, May 3.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.