Oak Mountain Youth Baseball & Softball finishes up another season

Published 4:52 pm Friday, June 26, 2015

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The end of June brings with it the end of recreational and all-star baseball and softball seasons. At the Oak Mountain Youth Baseball & Softball league, it was another successful season for both sides. The baseball side of the league implemented a new rule, which allowed travel teams to form within the confines of the rec rosters, while the softball side had two teams make the state tournament.

Mark Dennis, the baseball commissioner for the league, said he felt like the season, as a whole was a success. From the rec league season starting in February to the all-star seasons starting in May, the year was a success. There were 62 rec league teams spanning from ages four to 14, with a large concentration of those teams in the 4-8-year-old age groups. In the previous years, after the age of 10, the rec league has lost a large chunk of players to travel leagues and travel ball.

To combat this, the OMYBS Board voted to allow kids that were playing in the rec system to form select teams and compete when the rec leagues were off. This helped keep the numbers up for the older age groups in the baseball league.

“We still feel strongly that rec baseball is good for these kids,” Dennis said. “At the same time, we have to give people what our community wants. There is a huge demand for travel baseball, so this made sense.”

What the travel teams need are fields, and the rec leagues control access to those fields, so this situation was a win-win according to Dennis. These select teams, as they are called, that formed, played a number of games against other select teams, and the 13-14-year-olds from the OMYBS are still playing.

For softball, commissioner John Ohlson felt the season was a success as well. The numbers for the softball league are drastically lower than the baseball numbers, with only 12 teams throughout all age groups. While there are less softball teams, two of the all-star teams, the 8U and the 10U, formed from the rec leagues are playing in their respective state tournaments.

Both the baseball and softball leagues will continue to push for kids to participate in the rec leagues, as both feel they are important ways to continue to serve the community.