COEUR d’ALENE — There will be a new/old field for rec softball this season, a little farther to run between the bases, and if you’re thinking about altering your bat to hit the ball a little farther — well, better think twice.
Registration for adult softball leagues through the Coeur d’Alene Recreation department is coming to a close, with leagues scheduled to begin soon in men’s, coed, women’s, men’s church, coed church, seniors, coed short season and Sunday coed.
With the two softball diamonds at McEuen Field plowed under last fall to make room for a park, one diamond at Person Field on 15th Street has been readied for rec softball.
Little League and Pony League have used the field recently, with Little League moving to Sunset Field, Pony to Bryan Elementary.
The city hasn’t used Person for adult rec softball since 1995, when Ramsey Park was built.
“We’re telling everybody, ‘Back to the future,’” Coeur d’Alene recreation director and state ASA commissioner Steve Anthony said.
In addition to Person and Sunset, Coeur d’Alene also uses Memorial Field and the five fields at Ramsey. The rec department can handle about 200 teams per season.
“We’re right at the cusp,” Anthony said. “If we grow, we’ll have to look at a couple more fields.”
Starting this year, all adult softball will be played on 70-foot bases, instead of 65. This is a national rule change, Anthony said.
Looking ahead, the ASA is switching to another ball in 2014 for men’s play. The ball will have “a little harder core, but not as much pressure,” Anthony said. “Home run hitters will hit home runs, and singles hitters will hit singles. The ball will still zip through the infield, but it doesn’t trampoline as much.”
Using fees they collect from the players, the Coeur d’Alene recreation department has purchased a bat testing machine.
“We had quite a few reports of altered bats — either being shaved or rolled,” Anthony said.
Now, a suspect bat can be tested almost immediately, depending on where the machine is. Before, the bat had to be sent to Oklahoma City for testing.
If the bat is found to be altered, it will be removed and the player likely suspended,” Anthony said.
For those players — especially those new in town — looking for teams to join, a series of “informal” pickup games are scheduled for Saturday at Ramsey Park, beginning at 2 p.m. A social will follow at Paddy’s around 6.
Another change — all youth rec soccer will be played at the Coeur d’Alene Soccer Complex next to Skyway Elementary, Anthony said. Spring rec soccer for grades 2-8 was previously played at Ramsey.
Anthony switched the more competitive coed leagues to Wednesday nights from Mondays, and moved the rec short season coed to Monday nights.
“Most competitive players play weekend tournaments” and many take Monday nights off, Anthony said. “Also, women play on Monday. Maybe we’ll get more women to play coed (on Wednesdays).”
Information: 769-2249, 769-2250