Local youth baseball, softball organizations combine forces

MANISTEE — There is now one-stop shopping for recreational youth baseball in Manistee.

The Manistee County Little League has merged its youth baseball and softball programs with those of the Manistee Recreation Association, eliminating what MRA executive director Kenny Kott said was unnecessary competition between the two longtime organizations.

“After talking with their board of directors and mine, we decided that it would be wise for both of us to combine forces,” Kott said. “We’ve merged our two programs and reclassified our age groups to make baseball and softball a little more progressive experience.”

With participation numbers for baseball and softball trending downward, the two separate organizations doing the same thing made less and less sense, as both concluded.

“We only have so many kids here in Manistee County, and there really was no need for us to keep fighting each other,” Kott said. “All this kids in Manistee County who want to play baseball at a younger age can come right through the MRA.”

The volunteer board of directors of the Manistee County Little League will stay intact and act in the near term in an advisory role to the MRA, which will take over operations beginning this season.

The MRA will be the blanket organization for baseball and softball players from kindergarten age through seventh grade. Under their auspices, boys and girls will play T-Ball in the summers before their kindergarten and first grade, machine-pitch the summer before second and third grade, and then split up into baseball and softball pitched by players after that.

Previously, the Little League had three years of T-Ball followed by three years of machine-pitch, Kott said.

“Having the kids play more advanced baseball at a younger age will help them in the long run,” Kott said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of benefits in Manistee County with our kids.”

Parents interested in signing their kids up for MRA youth baseball and softball can find registration forms at the schools and at the MRA office in the Briny Building at 50 Filer St., as well as online at ManisteeMRA.com.

For more information, call the MRA at 231-723-9274.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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