Marlborough Girls Softball celebrates 25th anniversary

By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Players who hit home runs in 2016 pose during the 2017 Opening Day Ceremonies. From left to right: Alyssa Saunders, Saige Hollenkamp, Trinity Grenier, Piper Kinney, Abby Larson, Sarah Orentlich, Ally Pare and Kayla Seymour. Home run hitters not present: Sydney Chase, Olivia Deckers and Hannah Little.

Marlborough – Surrounded by two decades of their own improvements, past and present members of Marlborough Girls Softball celebrated the 25th anniversary of their program earlier this year at Baldelli Field in Marlborough.

Roughly 200 players, ranging in age from five to 15 years old, gathered with their parents and coaches for a ceremony that recounted the history of the program and gathered all three Marlborough Girls Softball presidents together on the same field.  Those presidents — Kenneth Vigeant, Jim O’Malley, and Karen Callahan — have each overseen a multitude of improvements that sitting board member Paul Vaccaro said are indicative of the very core of the program.

“I saw a very well organized league and I wanted to be a part of it,” he said of his early years as a coach before he joined the board of directors in 2008. “From what I had seen, it was a very, very strong leadership, it was a group and an organization that always had the kids’ best interests in mind.”

Vigeant founded Marlborough Girls Softball in 1992. Still an affiliate of Marlborough Youth Baseball at that point, Marlborough Girls Softball drew 80 players in its first season. Since then, the program’s size and offerings have expanded continually as it has also become an independent program.

What began as an 80 player spring league is now a league running games from April to October. As they have added players, the program’s leaders have also kept up with renovations on their fields.

“We’re incredibly proud of it [expanding field complex],” Vaccaro said. “I think that we’ve had some previous pictures of the field — what it used to be — and some pictures of what it is today, and it’s really like night and day.”

Program leaders added stadium lights, scoreboards and sound systems to their existing infrastructure over the years. They also built closed dugouts, batting cages and an entirely new field for the sole purpose of teaching younger players how to play softball.

Reflecting on the improvements he has seen in just the nine years since he began coaching in Marlborough in 2006, Vaccaro noted the integral role the city played in those renovations.

“The city has been wonderful to us just in terms of how they’ve maintained the fields and the support they’ve given us for some of the infrastructure or the other improvements we’ve wanted to make over in the Baldelli Fields complex,” he said.

In turn, Vaccaro and others agree, Marlborough Girls Softball has given back to its community. Primarily, it holds the distinction as the group that introduced many of Marlborough’s best softball players to their sport.

“The Marlboro Girls Softball program has allowed girls in Marlboro to start playing and play often with spring, summer and fall leagues,” wrote Marlborough High School varsity softball coach Kyle Wescott in an email. “It is very important to get athletes playing at a young age with the number of sports that are available to any athlete.  [That’s important] especially in softball, which is a very difficult sport to play at a high level.”

Wescott’s team is, indeed, dotted with Marlborough Girls Softball alumni. Those alumni returned to their former home field for the recent 25th anniversary celebrations to do a drill demonstration.

With ties to teams like the varsity high school program, Vaccaro is well aware of the youth program’s now crucial role in fostering interest in softball among Marlborough’s children. Knowing that, he said he hopes to continue the improvement of Marlborough Girls Softball long past its 25th birthday.

“We continue to do that by offering a very strong program where the girls can have fun and learn more about softball,” he said, later adding, “There’s a lot of competition out there in youth sports, so we need to continue to offer what we believe is a superior product and an avenue for the girls to continue to love playing sports, understand the camaraderie of the game and meet new friends along the way.”

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=90121

Posted by on Jul 6 2017. Filed under Byline Stories, Marlborough, Sports, Stories With Good Photos. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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