Girls in Sox league softball games may be allowed to steal bases this summer. Rule changes were discussed Monday at the Great Bend Recreation Commission Board meeting, but won’t be adopted until the April meeting.
GBRC Sports Director Chris Umphres talked about possible rule changes, based on issues that came up last summer. Several issues applied to the Sox league, for girls in third and fourth grade, and the Midget baseball league for boys in those grades.
Currently, the boys can steal second or third base, but the girls can’t. Stealing home is not allowed for either league.
Since board members have also done their share of coaching youth ball teams, Umphres received a lot of input.
One issue is whether girls in Sox league have to pitch underhand, “bowling style,” or if the modified “windmill” pitch should be allowed. “You have some coaches that can teach windmill and some that can’t,” Umphres explained.
Board members Leonard Kaiser and Dr. Marc Huslig noted that the windmill pitch is safe, but can lead to injuries if not done correctly.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Huslig said. “We need something available for the coaches to teach them the right way.”
Kaiser said he agreed, “As long as we give the tools to teach it the appropriate way.”
Time limits was another issue, since girls get 15 minutes more than boys to play their games. The games last for approximately the same number of innings. Of greater concern is the limit on how many innings one person can pitch in a week, and whether the number should change for tournaments. It was agreed that a team shouldn’t play four tournament games in one day, as a team coached by Huslig did last year. Instead, the fourth game should have been moved to the next day, he said.
Should intentional walks be allowed? The current rule is that the pitches must be thrown, but last year someone was suspected of intentionally throwing wild balls.
Huslig said umpires shouldn’t have to rule on whether a pitch was intentionally bad. “These umps take an earful (from parents in the crowd),” he said.
Umphres said making rules similar for boys and girls can also make things easier for umpires. For example, the infield fly rule changes from league to league.
“Kids get confused, too,” board member James Newman said, if their older siblings have different rules than they do.
All rules are posted on the GBRC website, www.greatbendrec.net. At Monday’s meeting, the board approved the adult softball rules and the sports manual, which have no rule changes for this year.
In other business Monday, the board adopted a resolution to depart from the generally accepted accounting practices. This “GAAP waiver” is adopted annually as an accounting process, said Diann Henderson, director of the Recreation Commission.