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Summer softball in Libby: Coed league off to strong start

by Brad Fuqua & Western News
| June 23, 2009 12:00 AM

Pull into the parking area near the softball fields at J. Neils Memorial Park on a Wednesday evening and it just might be a challenge to find a spot.

A new coed softball league has organized and with approximately 120 players participating, the idea appears to have hit a home run.

“We did it this year because the economy’s pretty slow and we’re trying to give the public something to do,” said Scott Evey, president of the new coed softball league. “We’re trying to get some more activities around, get some people some exercise and having something fun for people to do.”

The league has started an eight-week regular season that will be followed with three weeks of playoffs. Each team has 15-player rosters with secured sponsors, an aspect that Evey said is really appreciated considering recent economic challenges.

“I’m very surprised with the response,” Evey said. “To get eight teams from Libby alone I think is pretty good. In the past, we hadn’t been able to get any more than maybe four teams from Libby.”

In recent years, Libby softball players participated in games over in Troy. Back in April, Evey said the effort started to get a Libby league going. Flyers were circulated to help get the word out.

If it was up to Evey, coed softball would just be the tip of the iceberg. He hopes to see other leagues follow.

“We’re looking forward to doing a men’s league and women’s league later this fall – if interest serves,” Evey said.

On top of that, Evey believes basketball and maybe even youth football could be organized. But volunteers and of course, interest, would be paramount.

“I personally would like to see a pee-wee football league and men’s and women’s basketball leagues,” Evey said. “The soccer leagues are big because they have a lot of volunteers to help organize it. All it needs is people to volunteer and help out and you can do a lot of recreational things.”

Evey said having activities for adults can only be good for the community. He said basketball just might be a natural for the next type of league.

“When we have open gym, there are 30 guys wanting to play basketball,” he said. “We just need volunteers and start it up.”

The Wednesday night coed league is doing more than filling a recreational void for Libby adults. In addition, the local Babe Ruth youth baseball organization operates concessions. As a result, the games have created a good fundraising opportunity for the kids.

“It’s pretty neat because I’ve lived here almost nine years and I’ve never seen that ballpark full,” he said. “On Wednesday night (the first week), it was packed. The parking lot was full. It’s pretty impressive to see that much interest in the short period of time we put it together.”