The Breezeway

Is softball a dying sport at BK?

Playing+3rd+base+during+a+home+district+game%2C+Vicki+Leslie+fields+and+throws+the+ball.+Leslie+played+third+base+throughout+the+season.+
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Is softball a dying sport at BK?

Playing 3rd base during a home district game, Vicki Leslie fields and throws the ball. Leslie played third base throughout the season.

Playing 3rd base during a home district game, Vicki Leslie fields and throws the ball. Leslie played third base throughout the season.

Playing 3rd base during a home district game, Vicki Leslie fields and throws the ball. Leslie played third base throughout the season.

Playing 3rd base during a home district game, Vicki Leslie fields and throws the ball. Leslie played third base throughout the season.

Brenlee Adamson

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Softball coach Brian Begnel stared at his softball field, watching his girls warm up before their game. He is readily aware that four of the starting girls are seniors, and this is their last season. Every year, it gets more and more difficult to replace the girls that leave.

The 2018 softball team had fourteen girls, in a sport where there are nine players on the field at a time. Fourteen players is not an ideal number for any baseball or softball team, but at least there were enough to play. However, with four of the starting girls leaving, softball may be in serious trouble. Lately, the softball team has had trouble getting students to sign up. Brian Begnel, the head softball coach of fifteen years, thinks he knows why.

“Once our feeder schools dropped softball, that’s when our numbers really went down,” Begnel said.

Most feeder middle schools, according to Begnel, quit softball six or seven years ago, and ever since then Bishop Kelley has had fewer and fewer girls sign up to play. The team encourages all girls that are interested in playing to sign up, even if you have never played before. However, Begnel knows how hard a new sport in high school can be.

“We’ve had girls that have never played before come out and it’s tough,” Begnel said. “Our district is a very competitive one,”

The teams in Bishop Kelley’s district are some of the best in the state. The last three state champions have come from Bishop Kelley’s district. But will Bishop Kelley even be able to compete next season? Ten girls are currently signed up for next year, but that’s not an absolute number. According to Begnel, the team could play with nine girls, but there are a lot of risks. If a girl gets sick, becomes ineligible, or gets hurt, the team is done. Junior Vicki Leslie, who has played softball for ten years, knows the challenges of sports at a private school, and the advantage public schools enjoy.

“They just have a lot more kids and it’s harder because we’re a smaller school,” Leslie said.

What is the solution to this softball crisis?

“I’ve been telling people about softball, and asking to see if anyone has played before,” Leslie said.

Spreading awareness about softball’s lack of players is one thing that the team has been doing regularly. Sophomore player, Ellie Spielmann, has played softball for five years.

“I honestly don’t know what I would do if there was no softball team next year,” Spielmann, “I just hope it doesn’t get to that point.”

The way things are looking, softball may be a dying sport, and unless something changes, softball at Bishop Kelley could be over.  

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Is softball a dying sport at BK?