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Slowpitch expected to start in two weeks, still looking for teams

Apr. 25—JAMESTOWN — The Jamestown Men's Softball Association has some new blood in it.

"I really enjoy slowpitch softball," second-year board president Nate Purcell said. "I started playing about 10 years ago. When I started playing, we were the ninth team on the fourth night and the league is now down to two nights of eight teams.

"It's something that I want to see grow," he said. "It's a great sport. The association needed someone to step up and take over and I was just kind of hoping that I could be the person to get it turned around and headed back in the right direction by gaining more teams instead of losing them."

Purcell has used his position as a business education instructor at Jamestown High School to attempt to garner more interest in slow pitch in the younger generations. Purcell said he has communicated to the JHS students by word of mouth and hanging flyers up around JHS.

The Jamestown Men's Softball Association has also advertised the league in the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Spring and Summer catalog.

Another tactic Purcell said the association will utilize this summer is members of Marchel Krieger's sports officiating class. Members of the class will shadow umpires during games to make some extra money and learn more about the game.

"We have an aging lineup," Purcell said. "Most of the teams who are playing — the guys have been playing a long time. We need younger members of the community to play ball because, without them, there's not going to be a future."

As of April 24, there are 16 teams registered for the league. Seven teams will play on Monday nights while on Wednesdays there will be nine. The league begins May 6 and May 8 and ends July 29 and July 31. The end-of-season will be played the week of Aug. 5.

"It's a great social experience," Purcell said. "I know the main team I play on, we're a group of guys who went to high school together from 2010 to 2012 and it's a way we stay in touch. It doesn't have to be a high level of competitive play. There are lower-ranked teams made up of guys who just want to have fun."

Jamestown's Monday league is comprised of lower-ranked teams while Wednesdays boast a higher level of competition.

"We're one of the only associations within 100 miles in any direction," Purcell said. "There is a small farm league that plays out in Pingree but as far as local recreation ball, we're kind of it.

"Not a lot of small towns have fields that have lights and things like that but we do," he said. "Cory Genter, with the Parks and Rec, has done a really nice job starting to renovate the softball fields — getting the fields watered, redoing the bathrooms and the concession stands — things like that."

In addition to the facilities, Jamestown offers more than one kind of league.

The women's slowpitch league is set to run on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Hillcrest Sports Complex from early May to early August.

Co-ed softball is slated to begin after the men;s and women;s leagues conclude their seasons. The Co-ed league is set to run on Wednesday nights beginning in August and running through mid-September. Purcell said last year, eight co-ed teams played but added that as many as 12 have expressed interest this year.

Purcell said if the association has to run on two nights a week to grow the numbers for co-ed play — they will.

Jamestown also offers a few tournaments every year.

The 2024 Men's Masters 40 Tournament will be held Aug. 17-18 while the women's league is set to host a tournament in July. The annual Scott Schafer Tournament is also expected to be back at Hillcrest for its ninth go-around.

"Slowpitch softball is exactly what it sounds like," Purcell said. "It's a great way to have recreational sport and competition. It's a great opportunity for people who used to play sports to stay active and stay competitive."