SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO : Bobby Sox League to Open New Ball Field
With the community pitching in the labor to build a new softball diamond, the Capistrano Valley Bobby Sox league will be busier than ever this year. And they love it.
There will be 130 more girls between the ages of 5 and 15 playing softball at Cook Park this year who wouldn’t have participated last year, said league officials.
Although there will be much pride in the polished version of the diamond being unveiled Saturday, league organizers say they haven’t lost sight of the reason it was built.
“The satisfaction will come from seeing all these girls out there that wouldn’t have been able to participate last year,” said Marlene Arnold, league president. “Softball is getting very popular. You’ve got girls getting scholarships at colleges all over the country who’ve never had that kind of advantage in the past.”
Faced with a chronic shortage of space in the past, the league was forced to turn away girls who want to play ball. Finally last year, league officials had enough of disappointing young, aspiring softball players.
“We got tired of saying no,” said John Faulkner, a league board member and project manager. “We asked a few of the dads who were general contractors if this could get done. Then we started shaking some hands in the community and rounding up the help we needed.”
Lining up volunteers and clearing the project with the city, which owns the park on Calle Arroyo, took several months. Finally, work began in early February.
The support was almost overwhelming, Faulkner said. Besides the hard, physical labor provided by league parents, there was help from people with no direct connection to the group, including a local architect and a welder who each poured thousands of dollars of free labor into building the ball field.
And once the red-brick infield dust was poured, the diamond began looking like the $65,000 gift to the community that it is.
“This is an amenity that absolutely wouldn’t have happened if the Bobby Soxers hadn’t rolled up their sleeves and made it happen,” said City Manager George Scarborough.
“I think it’s a reflection of the commitment that bobby sox softball has traditionally shown to solving field shortages,” he added.
On Saturday, league officials will observe a special opening day at the new ball field. Just don’t expect any long, self-congratulatory speeches.
“It’ll be very brief, just a few minutes to dedicate the field to San Juan Capistrano,” Arnold said. “We’ve got a lot of ballgames to play on Saturday.”