What's This About?

Getting more people involved with Fastpitch Softball.

Hold more local tournaments. It's getting very expensive to travel to Albany, York, Columbus, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse etc. every weekend. Let the out of area teams come to the Rochester area for tournaments (most areas ask us why we don't hold any national ranked tournaments) In the past there were at least 5 - 8 local tournaments.

Form a local organization to help form leagues, tournaments, clinics, training, rules. Get everybody in this area on the same page, in the past many local tournaments has been scheduled on the same day. Someday this may lead to the building of a local Fastpitch Softball complex.

BELOW ARE COMMENTS FROM VARIOUS PEOPLE ALREADY INVOLVED WITH SOFTBALL LOCALLY.

JOHN MASCO, John is again organizing a local summer league for the various independent travel and town travel teams to play in.
John is also in the process of establishing dates for 1 or 2 local nationally sanctioned tournaments in July & Aug. 2003.

John Masco

National UIC for WASA (World Amateur Sports Association), Cincinnati based; NYS Director for WASA; NYS Director for NASF (North American Sports Federation), Pennsylvania based, ASA affiliate; Asst. Coach SUNY Brockport Girls’ Fastpitch team; Coach of Canalside Girls and Coed softball teams (11 years); professor SUNY Brockport, Physical Education and Sport, Officiating and Skill courses for softball, football and volleyball; former president of girls’ high school and girls’ college softball coaches; currently trainer and exam coordinator for Rochester College Umpires, over 20 years; and certified in four sports (softball, football, volleyball and basketball).

Since my retirement from Kodak, construction engineering, over 12 years ago, I have devoted my time and energies to the young ladies’ softball programs locally, statewide and nationally. It is my feeling that these young females have played "second class citizens" for too long. Girls’ high school and college softball is becoming the fastest growing sport in America. It is time they took the forefront. It has been my Christian ideal to work with, train, and afford leagues and tournaments for these young ladies and their respective coaches.
I am in the process of securing both the high school and college softball fields in Brockport. That could total four fields by 2003 and possibly seven fields when the town fields are redone for softball. I may now have optimum fields, along with incorporation, insurance, sanctioning, and certification authority, and with the help of people like Charlie Millitello, next year will be a banner year for girls’ softball locally. I may run 3-4 leagues and also state, qualifier and invitational tournaments with bracketing from Open Division down to the 14 and under level. If they come, I will give them the advantage of my experience and the opportunity to play in our leagues and tournaments.
Any team that joins our league will also have the opportunity to attend my softball camp that I will run for them only. I will cover rules to their advantage and also, batting, fielding, play-making and muscle development.
We are on the brink of something that is a win-win situation for the young ladies and their respective coaching staffs. Stay tuned for the "rest of the story," as it develops.

The leagues are sanctioned NASF, North American Sports Federation, which are ASA affiliated. All of my fields are additional insured at my expense. I can obtain NASF team insurance for teams in my leagues, only. 12U-$100, all others $110. The leagues will begin in mid June and run consecutively for 5 weeks. Each night there will be 2 -5 inning games, thereby, 10 -5 inning games for the 5 weeks. All play begins at 6:00 PM on assigned fields spread east, west and south of the city. Each league team may obtain a national tournament berth as well as any team playing in one of my two tournaments. The NY State NASF Tournament 10U through 18U and the National Women's NASF Open Tournament, June and July, respectively. Traditionally, upwards of 1100-1500 girls have gone through the NASF summer programs. The leagues have one certified, insured and trained umpire and all tournaments have at least 2 certified officials. In my leagues I offer an opportunity for national competitive teams to "play up a bracket" and new, less competitive teams to play at their level or sometimes down a bracket. It is entirely up to the coaches and their team's skill package. The summer program is designed strictly for the girls and their development both on the field as competitors and improved ways of execution and in the daily life as good sports-persons, committed and disciplined athletes and citizens. There is no room for sportsmanlike conduct in my leagues and tournaments. The abusers have always been asked to leave and in some cases not to return. This is NOT a money making enterprise. I started this many years ago as a Christian endeavor to help with the development of the young lady softball players in our area. Many coaches and instructors like yourself have given breadth and credibility to this venue. I thank you and all the coaches that have been a vital part in its development.

Peace,

John Masco
NYS NASF Commissioner
National UIC

GINO OLIVIERI

Gino Olivieri

Attended University of Delaware on a four-year football scholarship; played two years with the Detroit Lions; B.S. and Masters in Criminal Justice; retired from Monroe County Sheriff’s Dept. (K-9 handler); umpire since 1998; assistant with Aquinas softball; asst. and head coach of Rochester Thunder 16u since 1996; asst. coach Rochester Lady Red Wings; head coach of Rochester Lady Lions 18u (new team for 2003).

I tell all my girls (players) that I am there for them. I have earned enough awards and trophies in my lifetime, and now I want them to experience the same feeling of becoming better ball players, love of the game and the extreme love or feeling for the game that comes with winning.
Yes, we need more coaches (adults) to step up and bring back softball to Rochester. These adults must step up for the right reason … the girls!
I tell the girls that there is no better HIGH than hitting a double in the gap, throwing a girl out at second as a catcher, painting the outside corner of the plate and getting that called third strike as a pitcher, and playing together as a team, as one ….or, I say, "FAMILY."
I am currently working with PONY officials in an attempt to bring PONY National Qualifiers to the Rochester area. NSA and ASA are big in the WNY area and Southern Tier, but after attending the PONY Nationals two years in a row in Raleigh, N.C., I must say it is a wonderful experience and a well-run tournament. PONY may be able to talk with towns, etc., in order for us to obtain fields, sponsors, etc., to host a National Qualifier.
I am on the Town of Sweden Recreation Board here in Brockport with Charlie Millitello, trying to improve the fields and help softball grow.
I can remember when my two daughters were 8 and 6 and they came to me and said, "Dad, we want to hit the ball!" All they did was strikeout and walk. So, I took a Nerf ball and a wiffle ball bat and threw to them in our living room everyday all winter until they began to hit everything I threw. You should have seen their smiles…they were addicted! The HIGH I was referring to. Two years later they both won the 12u North Carolina state championships.
I love it when I see those looks on the girls I coach now. I tell the girls that my reward is reading your names in the newspaper come spring in high school ball. I sit back and just smile knowing that I may have helped in some way. That is what makes coaching so special to me!

JIM CAULEY

Jim Cauley

Coach, Webster Wildfire, 23U Travel Team

The Wildfires had a great summer of softball. We traveled to Albany, Dunkirk, Buffalo and Binghamton for some of the best 18u softball competition I have ever seen. We played some EXCELLENT teams. To name a few: Diamond Girls Black, CNY Rage, Binghamton Lady Bandits, Monroe Blazers, CR Rampage, Slick Chix, Lakers, TC Thunder, CNY Shockers, etc… 40 plus games in all. We won some, we lost some. Most important, we played and had fun.
Thanks to Eric Benson, there was one (1) competitive 18u tournament in the Rochester area this summer, "CNY Rage Brockport Tournament." WOW!!! ONE whole tournament. The Buffalo area must have had 30 or more tournaments, the Binghamton area has at least one or two every weekend starting in May and ending in August, the Albany area has tournaments every weekend, Syracuse has numerous tournaments, NYC and Hudson Valley have more than I can count. EVERY major city (and some not so major) in New York State has multiple fastpitch tournaments, except Rochester.
One of the reasons that Buffalo, Binghamton, Albany, Syracuse have multiple tournaments is that they have organized. The travel teams, the local colleges, the umpires, the field facilities, some high school coaches, town teams, etc., etc., etc. They all work TOGETHER, at all age levels. That is what it will take if Rochester is to become competitive once again. I hear coaches say they are losing girls to soccer or lacrosse. Well, guess what!!! Soccer and lacrosse are getting organized and promoting their sports. What are we waiting for? Binghamton Area Girls Softball Association Inc. (BAGSAI) has its own softball COMPLEX, a quad with a concessions stand. We need to start thinking very seriously about what we are willing to do to help organize Girls’ Fastpitch Softball in Rochester.

 

Bob Farrell

Bob Farrell, N.Y.S.- A.S.A. Director

The 2002 season was another great year for New York State Amateur Softball Association. Many of our registered teams participated in local, invitational, state and regional play, with a large number attending ASA National Championships. Our youth program continues to excel with not only with increased participation but with talented teams that are able to compete with those across the country. Our umpire program is one of the best in the country. Nine (9) NYSASA umpires were selected to work in National Championships in 2002. The number of qualified umpires continues to grow in New York State with another increase this past season.

On the national level ASA has appointed a Long Range Planning Committee that has held meetings during 2002. They hosted a workshop at the ASA National Convention in November. The workshop was part of the ASA effort to find out the most important issues facing us and to develop strategies and actions that will help ASA over the next 5 years. The effort represents our “path forward” through a future that holds challenges and opportunities.

Through surveys of commissioners, players, sponsors, tournament directors, etc. it is shown that ASA is effective in umpire training and membership services. The survey also showed we need to work on sponsorship and other revenue generation. Communication scored high as well, but with expanding technologies, this area has also been identified for improvement.

Organization effectiveness and flexibility need to be enhanced in order to continue delivering quality service to ASA customers. New roles and definitions of service will be provided by associations and national membership services. Our product and services have always met a high standard of quality. Agility of our organization to represent the wide range of playing levels, from recreational to youth, to national team needs to be addressed.

The 70 year history of ASA is a position of strength that must be preserved and enhanced guaranteeing the success of the sport, and those people that serve ASA.

Whatever your connection with ASA Softball, I wish you success in attaining your 2003 goals. Most of all have fun!


BOB KURYCKI



Parent, coach and asst.webmaster

I’ve been married for 32 years to my wife Mary Rita; we’ve lived in Churchville for 29 years. I have four children, three daughters and a son. I’m a Design Engineer. I started helping the coaches when my daughter Kate was 8 years old and playing in a Chili Town Baseball program that had softball teams for the little girls. While in college, I took a lot of time study and Human Factors in Engineering courses, which involved how the human body does things: reaction times, hand-eye coordination, how the human body’s senses work, etc. I was always able to apply this knowledge to ball and making the players better. We do a lot of crazy drills and people watching always ask, "Why do you do that?" usually followed by, "Oh, that makes sense." I was either an assistant coach or coach in Chili town ball and travel ball for 12 years. In that time we’ve had a lot of good teams. Many of the girls went on to play in high school and college. I have worked with town ball teams, travel teams, girls’ high school teams, both Varsity and JV; I’ve also worked with boys’ high school baseball teams, both Varsity and JV.

What I would like to see for fastpitch in our area.

I would like to see softball at least get back to the level it was 10 years ago. Some of the larger towns had girls’ leagues. Each town had 4 or 6 teams of girls 6-9 yrs. old, 6-8 teams of girls 9- 12 yrs. Old, 8 + teams at 13-18 yrs. old. There were play-offs, etc. The towns would pick the best players or the all-stars and, after the regular season was over, tournaments would have those teams compete against each other.
There were also larger tournaments, where both town teams and independent teams would come from Buffalo, Syracuse, or Binghamton and play our teams. Then we would go there.

Unless we get more girls involved on 10 and under teams and 12 and under teams, softball is going to die out in this area.

Rochester area has to catch up to the rest of the state.

More clinics and better training so our girls can catch up.

NOT BAD, GETTING BETTER

Better leagues for all ages, even an over-18 open league for high school seniors, college girls, coaches, and former players that love the sport.

More local tournaments, even national qualifiers etc.

A local softball organization that can standardize what rules we use (especially for the younger girls). This organization could help organize leagues, offer clinics, help train coaches etc. It could be made up of coaches (both school and league), past players, umpires, officials from various softball organizations, parents, and others.

NOW IF THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS OR SOMEONE WINS THE LOTTERY, I WOULD LIKE:

A complex like they have in North Syracuse/Cicero, Buffalo and Binghamton where we could have (at least) four fields back to back, restrooms and a refreshment stand, outdoor pitching and hitting cages, plenty of warm-up area off the main fields, lots of spectator areas, plenty of free parking and a 40 x 100 ft. building that could be used all winter for indoor pitching, with batting cages and areas for infield practice. Member teams could reserve times for workouts or, as they do it in Buffalo, parents bring the girls in during open hours to pitch and/or hit during the off season.
This complex could be used for school games, sectional games, league games, tournaments, clinics, etc. See below.

FIELDS COMPLEX

How would we ever build this? Impossible? It will never happen! If you think that, you are probably right, it will never happen. It is first necessary to DREAM and to BELIEVE in the possibility of dreams for them to come true. Attitude and determination are as important as skill in the game of fastpitch softball and the same is true in a community’s building of a softball complex.
To start with, you need an Organization, preferably a non-profit, tax-exempt group with a plan. You must have a well-defined plan, with details on who will benefit from this complex, how many people will use this complex, what ages will use the complex, the geographic outreach from the immediate complex area, will out-of-town teams come to play and stay in area motels, eat in area restaurants? Let the business people and political people know you would now be able to host Empire State Softball Games, Special Olympics games, national-level events. You could have the Gold Medal Olympics Softball Team play in exhibition here or hold a softball clinic here; you could hold high school or college games and even have a couple fields lit for night games -- there are complexes that offer this all over the country except here. For financial help and support we would hang corporate logos on the fences. Naming rights could be offered -- in Amherst, for example, there‘s a Pepsi Center for hockey right next to Aunt Rosie‘s softball complex! And one of the area's best girls’ 14 and under softball teams is totally sponsored by Pepsi, everything from uniforms and tournament fees to travel expenses (except for hotel room costs).
Young athletes come from all over the country to play at the Pepsi complex and in Aunt Rosie’s tournaments. They fill up motels and hotels year round; the fast food restaurants are packed; I’ll bet even the Thruway Authority loves Aunt Rosie’s, with teams coming in from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Canada.


2000 Chili 12U Chili Travel Team
These girls had rally monkeys 2 years ago- check out the fence.

Public money helped build Frontier Field and will be slated for any new soccer complex, both are basically men’s facilities. Remember Title 9? Remind people about the 26 soccer fields being proposed to be built all in one place in this county and tell them all we’re asking for is 4 (or 6) softball fields in one place that will serve several counties. You never know, people coming in on the Fast Ferry might want to catch a softball game! Take them to Buffalo or Syracuse and show them the fields public money helped build and explain what a great asset they are to the local communities. Remember, it’s your money; technically the state and federal governments have no money. All their money is raised each year through taxes and fees. It gets redistributed back to the people and the municipalities where they live depending on how hard you ask and how good a case you make for its need. Believe me, the people in New York City or Long Island know how to ask for it. This would be a complex that could serve thousands of people annually for the next 40 years.

If this happened, it would probably take years to come to fruition, and by then the economy might be a lot better and corporations and businesses would be in a better position to donate gravel or sand, cement blocks, surplus fencing, surplus drainage tile; they might be able to send over a man and a dozer for a week or a crew of masons for a few days in between jobs. It would be a tax write-off for most corporations. On the same size parcel of land, you could only fit one boys’ field. The more people involved with this, the more contacts you can make. This is where the others come in as to who should be in this organization. Political personages, corporate heads, business owners should all be asked; after all Rochester was once the capital of softball in the country, the home of Shifty Gears, world championship Kodak teams. With that history, we could have a Hall of Fame at the complex.

Here’s a hypothetical situation. You get a well-respected local businessman to be a part of your group; let’s say, Sam Walton, God bless his soul. You explain to Sam that your complex would benefit a lot of people, not just a small elite group of people but both children and adults from the city, the towns, the county, rural areas and farm areas. You would be serving a seven-county area. You explain what the present situation is; you show him some of the present fields. You explain how schools and colleges could also use these fields. If you can get Sam onboard for the project, you may also get some of Sam’s suppliers, his customers, his bankers, his golfing partners to take an interest in this cause. Maybe, you get some of Sam’s political friends, too. All of a sudden, local representatives say, if Sam is behind this, we’ll see what we can do.

You could probably build the whole thing for under a million dollars ($1,000,000 without lights for night games) especially if companies started donating supplies and labor. It would only take 18-20 acres for everything, including the parking lot. You should be able to get a state, county or town crew to do the mowing, after all who’s mowing the 26 soccer fields? Once the complex is built, the concessions stand could help raise funds, especially if you had a modern package and microwave kitchen that one person could run for small events and only fire up the grills for the big events. People don’t want to leave once they park and will buy any food or drinks at the stand. People will complain all night about paying $1.60 for a gallon of gasoline but think nothing of spending $1.00 for 12 oz. of water (that’s adds up to over $10.00 for a gallon of water!).You could also sell engraved bricks for a walk of fame or hold clinics on pitching, hitting, or fielding as fundraisers.
The complex should be in a central location, close to the Thruway or an interstate and near the population center of Section V, perhaps in the Henrietta or Rush area. This would be centrally located so people from Geneva or Newark would drive about the same distance as people from Dansville or Holley. If the people from the eastern areas of Section V are not interested in being part of this organization the complex could shift a little west and be located in Scottsville or Chili.

Over the years I’ve been able to procure many items for various organizations at no charge. People say to me, "I’m sure they’re just going to give that to you!" But they do, as long as you have a plan and they see that a number of people will benefit from their donation; you might be surprised at what is possible. I do know one thing: If you don’t have a plan and you don’t ask, you will get nothing.
Well that’s my dream, but I’ll probably be living in Florida before it happens.


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