Scuffed softballs and favorite bats sit idle in the dugout waiting for first pitch. Long before the arrival of the first robin in the spring, softball players begin counting down the days to first pitch. Hours of fielding fly balls, learning how to slide, how to pitch, how to scoop up grounders, and bunt in front of the box all lead up to first pitch.
In rural communities, the ball diamond continues to be a hub of summertime activity. For decades, it has been a meeting place where farmers, ranchers, and village residents gather to cheer on their local teams. Over time the standard equipment has been refined to adapt to the changes in the game. Yellow softballs now replace the old, white, kitten balls. Bats made from a blend of graphite and carbon fiber now line the dugout racks.
Retired players just like those on the field still live for that moment each year when the umpire yells, “Play Ball,” and the first pitch is a strike! The wait is over!