Boys slow-pitch softball camp slated for May 5 in Eastlake

Apr. 11—There was a time when the epicenter of boys slow-pitch softball was arguably in Lake County, Ohio, specifically in Eastlake.

Back in the 1980s and '90s, the City of Eastlake boasted 15 national championship slow-pitch softball teams, along with 28 top-three finishes across USSSA and ASA organizations.

Those days have long gone by. But a group led by Byron Floyd hopes to change that.

The Great Lakes Youth Slow-Pitch organization is holding a free skills camp for boys ages 7-15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at North High School. The camp will feature the finer points of slow-pitch softball, including stations in hitting, fielding, throwing and catching.

"Softball used to be a big thing in Lake County with both youth and adults in the '80s and '90s," Floyd said. "For some reason, it's non-existent anymore. Youth slow-pitch? I don't know if there's a boys league in the country anymore. When I played in the '80s and '90s, we traveled all around the country out of Eastlake. It's wild how softball has gone to the wayside."

Slow-pitch softball has dwindled across the board on all levels, Floyd noted. For instance, there was a time in the early 2000s that The News-Herald had a full page of softball coverage every weekend with league standings and leaders from leagues across the coverage area.

Floyd said there are several potential reasons why softball has declined, including the advancement of equipment in the game to travel concerns to the myriad of options of things to do across the north coast.

"On average, 15 percent of boys play baseball," Floyd said. "What are the other 85 percent doing in June and July? We're not trying to take kids away from baseball, but if we can get another 10-15 percent out there playing, that would be great."

Floyd reminisced about the day when his father introduced him to the game of slow-pitch softball. He rattled off stories of what it was like when softball was at its peak and 700-1,000 boys were playing slow-pitch softball in Eastlake, Willowick, Mentor and all the towns across the north coast. He is hoping that the May 5 clinic will help rekindle some of the passion from the glory days.

"It's such a great game," he said. "We'll go over the basics at the camp, have stations to learn the game and make it fun for everyone."

To register for the camp, visit