Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville goes to bat for women's softball league

Desirae Buckingham, 18, of Brooksville reaches for the ball as Shawanna Frazier, 21, right, also of Brooksville slides into second base during a game between the Creative Environmental Solutions team and Daddy DJ Girls at the Jerome Brown Community Center on Wednesday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Desirae Buckingham, 18, of Brooksville reaches for the ball as Shawanna Frazier, 21, right, also of Brooksville slides into second base during a game between the Creative Environmental Solutions team and Daddy DJ Girls at the Jerome Brown Community Center on Wednesday.

BROOKSVILLE — "I don't know where softball went."

At first, Brooksville Recreation Department employee Tina Nichols' words seemed trivial. At a second glance, there are only five sanctioned women's softball teams in Florida. Four reside in the Recreation Department's new Women's Softball League.

Adult recreational sports have been a staple in Brooksville for years, led by the presence of both men's and co-ed softball leagues — 25 teams this year.

Last season, female players in the co-ed league began to ask Nichols why the men had an option to play in a league just for them while women had no such choice.

"When you are playing with men, they tend to lay back and not play their hardest," former co-ed player Evelyn Lehman said. "The women like going out there and playing against each other."

Nichols began to look into starting a women's league, and the word spread. In its inaugural season, the league has four teams that play on Wednesday nights on the fields outside the Jerome Brown Community Center. Three of the teams play doubleheaders each night, loving every minute of it.

"I've heard so many times at the end of the night, 'That umpire made such a bad call, but it's okay because I had so much fun,' " Lehman said. "It's been three weeks so far, and these girls are having a great time."

With Nichols already assigned to so many duties, Lehman was more than happy to take the reins as director of the league. Among her tasks: establishing the schedule, collecting the registration paperwork and fees, and contacting the players with any scheduling issues. Because of her experience in running leagues, Nichols has been happy to help.

"Running all of these leagues is a lot of work," Nichols said. "Evelyn had never run a league before, but she has picked it up really fast and done a terrific job with it."

There are currently more than 50 players in the league, with 12 to 15 on each club, and the league welcomes more, Lehman said. Sponsors include Beef O'Brady's, Creative Environmental Solutions, Sandy's Floralscape and Lawn Maintenance and Daddy DJ.

The biggest surprise is the size of the league, because there are no others in the state, according to Mike Miller of the National Softball Association.

The fifth team in Florida is a national travel team out of Miami that competes against out-of-state opponents. There are four other sanctioning bodies for softball recognized in the United States, but the Amateur Softball Association, United States Slo-Pitch Softball Association, Independent Softball Association and World Softball League all have little or no participation from women.

"There isn't even a state women's softball tournament, even though it's been tried, because there aren't enough sanctioned teams," Miller said. "Tina took the initiative to start the league (in Hernando County), and it's a nice setup for her."

Miller handles all of the sanctioning paperwork, allowing every player who registers to be eligible to compete in any association tournament. He also organizes the umpires.

This is the first exclusively female league in the area since Pasco County had a league at Jack Mitchell Park in New Port Richey that disbanded three years ago.

That league, while successful and popular, was a victim of the economic times. Miller, who was involved in that league, remembers a group of Hernando County players making the almost hour-long trip down to Pasco to play every week.

The long drive "was another complaint that the women had," Miller said, "but they kept doing it until the league closed down. It's really nice to see someone give it another shot."

Maybe another opportunity is all that was needed. The reviews only a few weeks in are overwhelmingly positive as word of mouth spreads. With the rich history of softball in Hernando stretching back five decades, a women's league only seems fitting.

"Hopefully, women will hear about us in Citrus and Pasco counties," Nichols said. "I think we can get this started up again."

At a glance

Get involved

What: Brooksville Recreation Department's Women's Softball League, for ages 16 and up.

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Where: Softball fields at the Jerome Brown Community Center, off W Jefferson Street, Brooksville.

Information: Contact Evelyn Lehman at (352) 540-3835.

Brooksville goes to bat for women's softball league 03/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 18, 2010 8:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot

    Blogs

    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.