A year after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down nearly every activity inside and outside that wasn’t deemed essential, the Greenwood Exchange Club will swing back into action this weekend with its season-opening tournament for baseball and girls softball.
Jacob Clark, who served as a past president and will step in as president of the Exchange Club on July 1, said enthusiasm is at an all-time high.
“We are all real excited to get this season going,” said Clark, who made the decision to cancel the 2020 season along with other members of the Exchange Club as the virus was surging. “Our park will be open. We are not requiring people to wear a mask, but that will be their choice.
“Our numbers are a little down, but we figure it will take a year to build things back up. Some people are probably still hesitant, and we have a good number of kids playing travel ball now. It’s a big deal for the city of Greenwood. It’s a family environment. We just hope the good Lord blesses us with good weather this weekend. Financially, this tournament helps keep the park running.”
The two-day tournament starts Friday at Stribling Park with first games at 5:30 p.m. Action will get going again Saturday at 9 a.m. and last until the late afternoon. There is a $5 per head entry fee on both days.
Jonathan Mills serves as the chairman of the baseball/softball committee for the Exchange Club.
“We’re all extra excited this year,” he said. “After last year and having to make that difficult decision to cancel, we all know it’s going to take a year to get the leagues built back up. We usually have way over 400 kids participating. The good thing is that all of our teams are sponsored by local businesses. Our local community supports this league very well. People will be able to come out and see the improvements we’ve made over the past year.”
Mills said there are 35 total teams in the baseball and softball programs. In baseball, there are four teams each in age groups 11-12 and 9-10. There are six teams in the 7-8 age bracket, and six teams in the 6-and-under league.
In softball, there are three teams each in the 9-10, 7-8 and 6-and-under leagues. There are also six teams in the T-ball league, which consists of girls and boys. There are a total of 380 girls and boys signed up to play ball this season.
J.P. Walker is the current president of the Exchange Club.
“We have a grounds committee, led by Kenny Thompson, that oversees the actual maintenance of the park,” he said. “It’s a good team effort.”
- Contact Calvin Stevens at 581-7234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.