Wednesday, October 26, 2011

District approves middle-school baseball, softball program

1-year pilot program to start in spring


By MARK A. YORK

For the Express

The Blaine County School District board of trustees last week approved allocating $4,800 to create a baseball and softball program at Wood River Middle School.

The funds will go toward field preparations starting this fall with the program starting in the spring.

"We're looking to create a whole different sport," said middle school Principal Fritz Peters.

Peters said that while there would be some startup costs, he didn't anticipate much of an increase in the budget.

While opportunities for baseball and softball are available now for middle school students through the Blaine County Recreation District and Little League organizations, Peters and Wood River High School physical education teacher Lars Hovey explained to the board that many of the players in those activities don't move on to high school teams.

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"There are no feeder programs to the high school level," Peters said during the board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Hovey said getting volunteer coaches wouldn't be a problem. The board also voted to supply district minivans for away-game trips. Hovey said there would be 15 trips involved. Coach/drivers would receive training for the vehicles. Fuel costs would be reimbursed from fundraising donations.

"I'm concerned that we are opening the door to subsidizing sports when there are club sports, like lacrosse, that don't receive funding from us," said Trustee Kathryn Graves.

She said that in these tough economic times, most schools are cutting back, not adding programs.

Peters said the softball and baseball program would be a regular new sport like volleyball and cross-country. It would fall under Wood River Middle School even though there could be help from outside groups.

The board's approval was for a one-year pilot program that includes field development, supplying a bus and coaches.




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