AU SABLE FORKS - Efforts are under way here to bring back an old tradition of summer recreation.
A committee of Au Sable Forks residents has formed with the intent of re-instituting a fastpitch softball league, and the group is already well on their way to reaching that goal. Chad Garcia is the committee's vice president.
"There was a league here for 40 or 50 years, and then it folded 10 years ago," said Garcia. "Everybody's talked about it for years since the league went under."
All that talk eventually turned into action, however, when Forks native Adam Coolidge brought some fellow fastpitch veterans together in January to work out a plan for the new league, complete with rules and a schedule.
"We've had a lot of help from the Au Sable Forks Fastpitch Tournament Committee," said Garcia, noting how the organization generously granted use of Billy Mitchell Memorial Field, where it hosts fastpitch teams from across the Northeast in a weekend-long tournament each summer.
The new league, in contrast, will feature strictly locally-organized teams in a 12-to-15 game schedule throughout June and July. Teams must contribute a sponsorship fee to enter the league, which is paid through a combination of business sponsorships and player fees.
"The players get a membership card, and the sponsors get a banner that will hang on the fence during the games," Garcia explained.
Rules for the games will mirror those of the annual tournament, with the exception that a 10th batter will be added to the lineup to encourage more participation. The league is open to anyone, men or women, ages 16 and up.
"In the past, women have played in the league; women have pitched in the league," Garcia said.
Regular season games are tentatively scheduled to begin June 2. Admission to the games will be free.