MCYBSL prospects looking good for 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca Two T-Ball squads shake hands after a game last year, displaying the kind of sportsmanship that new MCYBSL president Craig Blackwell wants to continue.

The Marshall County Youth Baseball and Softball League MCYBSL) is excited about the upcoming season as a new board of directors takes over in Lewisburg.

Newly elected MCYBSL president Craig Blackwell said, "We have some great people here and great history and I am very proud to be the new president, plus I am fortunate enough that we are going to have some of those people stay over to help us out."

Blackwell takes over for Doris Gentry, who guided the league for the last three seasons, taking over in the red in 2011 and leading the MCYBSL to many capital improvements at the Richard Cashion Complex that totaled over $12,000 the last two years.

Still involved

"Doris was a great president who has done a great deal for the league and we want people to know what he has done and I am very happy that he will be here to help me and Doris will still be involved as much as he has ever been," said Blackwell.

"I had an agenda when I took over in 2011 to pay the bills, get the finances in order and make as many improvements as we could," said Gentry.

"We have been fortunate the last two years to do some things at the park and I hope it can continue."

One of the major improvements made at the ballpark over the off-season was moving the outfield fence back on the Major League Boys field in order for the league to accommodate the 12U Boys Southeast Region Tournament in July.

Region meet

"This will be our fourth southeast region since we moved to Cal Ripken six or seven years ago," said District 3 Babe Ruth Commissioner Mike Tatum.

"This means a lot for the district and Marshall County with the economic impact it will have with teams coming from six states."

The fence was set at 199 ft. until being moved back to 225 ft. to adhere to Cal Ripken regulations and win the bid for the Southeast Region Tournament.

"If you remember last year, we had the 11U southeast region and they were knocking home runs like we were popping popcorn, so that should even things up some," said Gentry.

Daisy Braden scoops up the ball and makes the throw to first base last season in MCYBSL girls' action.

Players wanted

What the league does need are more kids to sign up to play to improve the numbers that have decreased in recent years.

"What we always want and what we will continue to do is teach respect, responsibility, and good teamwork and we want to continue that," said Blackwell. "We want people in Marshall County to be part of the league and come out and sign up and we look forward in having everybody come out and see the positives changes we have made."

Both the boys and girls leagues we will be sanctioned under the Babe Ruth League umbrella after a couple of years of going back and forth with some uncertainty.

Blackwell also has one of the best Field Representatives staying on board in Tatum, who has been in that role since 1994.

"Mike is the best there is and if he ever passes away, we are going to get him stuffed and put him out on the field, holding a shovel," said Blackwell. "He knows every inch of this field."

High hopes

Tatum still has high hopes for the park and the league that he has been a part of for 30 years.

"I think the future is good for the league," said Tatum. "I think we have one of the best complexes anywhere and the field and the league are like a child to me and I have always wanted to take care of it and still do."

The MCYBSL will continue sign-ups this weekend and will have final sign-ups on Feb. 3 and 4 for boys ages 4-12 and girls ages 4-16.

"Kids have so many different options now, they can go out and play different sports or sit home and play computers and we want parents to push their kids to get them out here and get that exercise," said Blackwell. "There is no better feeling than when they hit a ball to center field and get that first home run and the MCYBSL wants to be part of that experience."

2014 MCYBSL Board Members

President-Craig Blackwell

Vice-President-Brent McMahon

Treasurer-Michael Wickberg

Secretary-Karla Hargrove

Auxiliary Chair-Courtney McMahon

VP Baseball-Scott Jackson

Boys Player Agent-Ellie Williams

VP Softball-Scott Walls

Girls Player Agent-Sean Woods

Field Representative-Mike Tatum

Safety Officer-Micael Wickberg