All-Star Weekend

Rec Park hosts two nights of big crowds for softball and baseball – 

By Mark Carpenter – 

If you noticed an increase in traffic last weekend headed down Old Cincinnati Pike, there was a good reason for it. A large contingent of youth softball and baseball fans made their way to the West Union Recreation Park on Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28 to be part of the 2018 Southern Hills Youth League Softball and Baseball All-Star Games. Hundreds of young athletes and hundreds of their fans enjoyed something new this year, softball and baseball under the lights. With the help of auxiliary lights rolled over from Freedom Field, the All-Star Games were played “under the lights”, adding another does of excitement to many of the youngsters who had never before experienced that feeling.

Manchester’s Raegan Wikoff competes in the timed base running competition on July 27 at the SHYL Softball All-Star Night. (Photo by Mark Carpenter)

“The All-Star Games were a huge success,” said Brad Rolfe, on of the organizers of the two-night affair. “We had record attendance both nights and the young girls and boys had a blast playing under the lights, many of them for the first time ever. As President of the league, I am so proud of our youth athletes and what they have accomplished this season. These young men and women show leadership on and off the field.”
Rolfe also added another nice touch to the festivities with his live microphone broadcasting across the park, keeping fans abreast of what action was on what field while also giving some young athletes their first live “on-air” interviews.
The action began with softball on Friday night, and it must have been popular, as the final games lasted until past 1 a.m. in the morning. The action resembled that of a well-tuned three-ring circus, with different activities happening on three different fields, with Rolfe acting as the ringmaster. The girls, broken down into groups 8U, 10U, 12U, and 14U, participated in a Home Run Derby, Skills Competitions of throwing, running, pitching, and catching, before teaming up for the All-Star Games themselves, before a definite capacity crowd.
The following night was a repeat performance, but this time with the young baseball players. The 8U group seemed to win the popularity contest, with their fans sitting three and four deep in some spots. The activities kept the crowd buzzing and moving, as they followed their young stars from field to field.


Following is a list of winners of all the skills competitions from Friday and Saturday.
8U Girls:
Base Running- Gracie Barr, Manchester
Throwing- Destiny Bays, West Union
Catching- Kenidi Barnett, North Adams
Home Run Derby- Olivia Kennedy, Manchester (Junior Division), Kendall Myers, Peebles (Senior Division)
10U Girls:
Base Running- Ivree Burns, Whiteoak
Throwing- Jadlyn Conley, Manchester
Catching- Lily Ann Parker, North Adams
Pitching- Carlee Garrison, North Adams
Home Run Derby- Mahayla Brown, Manchester
12U Girls:
Base Running- Cora Akers, Whiteoak; Ashla Staten, West Union (Tie)
Throwing- Molly McMullen, Whiteoak
Catching- Claire Ames, Whiteoak
Pitching- Sara Boldman, West Union
Home Run Derby- Riley Finn, Whiteoak
14U Girls:
Base Running- Harley Rideout, Manchester
Catching- Zoey Fuchs, Manchester
Home Run Derby- Emilee Applegate, Manchester
8U Boys (Junior Division):
Base Running- Lucas Pollard, Eastern
Throwing- Chance Cottingham, Eastern
Pitching- Karson Arey, Eastern
Home Run Derby- Landen Moore, North Adams
8U Boys (Senior Division):
Base Running- Trace Evans, North Adams
Throwing- Calen Vogler, Peebles
Pitching- J.R. Liston, West Union
Home Run Derby- Isaiah Ernst, Eastern
10U Boys:
Base Running- Parker Hayslip, Manchester
Throwing- Korey Gray, Manchester
Pitching- Carson Francis, West Union
Catching- Hayden McGowan, North Adams
Home Run Derby- Brylee Mills, West Union
12U Boys:
Throwing- Ryan Credit, Lynchburg
Pitching- Ethan Thornberry, West Union
Catching- Jace Rothwell, North Adams
Home Run Derby- Chaysten Shields, Ripley
14U Boys:
Pitching- Remington Beckham, Peebles
Catching- Luke Wilson, Ripley
Home Run Derby- Luke Mease, Eastern