BELDING — The Belding Redskins baseball team is planning to head south this spring. To help do so they are willing to get cold or at least let others get cold.
The Redskins are hosting a winter softball tournament on Feb. 11 at Demorest Field to help raise spring training funds for the program. Belding will travel to Cocoa Beach, Fla. for a week of practice this spring.
“We’ve had coaches on staff that have done this several years ago, but this is the first time we have done it,” Belding varsity coach Michael Ostrander said. “We are always looking for new ideas for fundraisers. It’s a challenge when everyone is trying to sell candy bars.”
With spring approaching and Major League spring training right around the corner, softball players are starting to get the itch to get out there and play, despite the cold and snow. Although, this winter has been relatively mild and lacking snow.
“There are people in the area that play softball year round,” Ostrander said. “As we get into the middle of winter people begin to think about baseball and softball, too.”
Cost is $120 per team or $10 for an individual. Teams will be guaranteed three games and will have a time limit. Two to three fields will be used and at-bats will begin with a 1-1 count and no grace.
A trophy will be presented for first place and concessions will be available during the event. All of this is to help the Belding Redskins baseball program with their trip to Florida this spring.
“We will spend seven days in Florida and will get a lot of baseball time in,” Ostrander said. “We will have nine hours of field time scheduled each day.”
The teams will also have the chance to take in a spring training game between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.
“We are staying right on the beach. Just a couple of miles from the practice facility,” Ostrander said. “It will be a great week for our kids.”
This will be the first time for the Redskins traveling to Florida for spring break. The Redskins softball team has gone to Myrtle Beach, S.C. the last couple of years.
“I’ve talked to other coaches throughout the state on how they do it and it sounds like a great opportunity,” Ostrander said. “The weather here isn’t great and we end up trying to practice, but we will get so much more field time down there.”
The tournament already has several teams registered to play. Registrations will be accepted until Feb. 4 or until all spots are taken. Ostrander said they are hoping for 10 teams and are close to that now.
“We will not turn anyone away,” he said.
Registration on Feb. 11 will be from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. with games beginning at 9 a.m. The event is open to anyone who has graduated high school.
“As a kid this was something we did as fun,” Ostrander said of playing softball outside. “I’ve never been in a tournament like this. For me, it will be fun to watch.”
To register, contact Tom Daller at firstname.lastname@example.org.