The earliest known softball game took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1887, in Chicago, Illinois. The game took place at the Farragut Boat Club between Harvard and Yale football supporters waiting to hear the result of the game. Credit for inventing the game is given to reporter George Hancock, who later developed the first ball and bat used for the game.
The game was first introduced as a way for baseball players to keep in shape during the winter months, but it quickly turned into a sport of its own. Leagues began to emerge in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but each league had their own set of rules. The game was known by a variety of names, including kitten ball, mush ball and diamond ball. The term “Softball” became popular in 1926, but it wouldn’t be recognized as the official name until 1936.
Softball rules were also decided that year when the Joint Rules Committee on Softball standardized the rules of softball across the United States.
In 1946, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League started an all-girls softball league, which would later be popularized by the 1992 film A League of Their Own. The AAGPBL was the first league of its kind and allowed women across the United States and Canada to showcase their talents on a national stage.
Now, softball is wildly popular and there are many amazing teams! HLLA offers major, minor and farm ball softball leagues for girls 7-12. Check out our website HLLA.org for more league information.
This past April, the Little League World Series was forced to cancel its seven World Series and Region Tournaments for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first time in the organization’s nearly 75-year history that any tournament was canceled, including the 10 to 12 age group that competes in South Williamsburg, PA.
Despite the disappointment that came with this past season, Little League is optimistic for the 2021 season. The organization plans to hold all seven World Series events and region tournaments, including at the historic South Williamsburg location. Player safety is the most paramount concern for Little League and guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of all those who attend games.
Players and coaches must observe six feet of distance between themselves while in the dugout. No personal equipment will be permitted in the dugout but instead should be spaced accordingly outside the dugout. Equipment will not be shared between players and will be disinfected after each use. To ensure player safety on the field of play, umpires will be required to wear a mask and will rotate baseballs every two innings.
Perhaps, the biggest changes will come to standard baseball etiquette and customs. During the 2021 season, post-game handshakes will not be allowed. Baseball players are accustomed to chewing gum and sunflower seeds; however, neither of these iconic snacks will be permitted this coming season.
While COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the previous little league season, Little League hopes to provide a safe and fun environment for players and fans at the 2021 World Series events.
“Coming up with a plan for COVID-19 is not easy,” Dean Warlitner, President of Harrisonburg Little League, said. “We will have to abide by all federal, state, and local rules for the best way to ensure player and spectator safety.”
HLLA will have its First Pitch meeting Jan. 19, 2021 at the Horizon's Edge Sports Complex. Follow the Facebook and Instagram pages to stay up to date on HLLA's upcoming season.
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