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Softball league gives adults chance to take to the diamond

The Jonesborough co-ed softball league continues to be a hit for many local adults.
Since mid-June, the softball fields at Persimmon Ridge Park have been occupied each Monday and Thursday evening by 11 teams made up of men and women from the area.
For many like Matt Ingle, the softball league is a chance to continue playing a game they love long after their youth.
“This is my third season playing,” Ingle said. “I have played ball ever since I was a kid and there’s really not any baseball leagues around so I started playing softball.”
Ingle, a member of the Misfits, also umpires and says he does what he can to stay involved in a game that has always been a huge part of his life.
Darrel Gideon, who also plays in the league, sees the league as an opportunity to stay active and healthy.
“I really didn’t grow up playing any softball or baseball,” Gideon said. “I really enjoy the games and being a part of the team. Anything that will get me off the couch for a couple evenings every week is definitely worth doing and I enjoy every minute of it.”
The differences that exist in a co-ed league compared to men’s and women’s only teams are that every other defensive position and offensive batting slot is rotated between a male and female.
If a male plays first base, then a female must play second base. The same applies to the four outfield positions.
Ages of the players on the 11 teams vary greatly.
“There is definitely a big age range on many of the teams,” Ingle said. “Our youngest player is 19, and I know there are guys in the league who are in their 50s and 60s.”
No matter a player’s age, Gideon admits everyone wants to win.
“I don’t think the league is overly competitive, but don’t get me wrong, everyone still plays to win,” he said.
Ingle enjoys the co-ed league and believes the format really helps to keep the environment laid back.
“Co-ed is a little bit different, a little bit more laid back,” Ingle said. “An all-men’s league at times can get very competitive, but I think co-ed keeps it laid back.”
While many of the players or coaches involved in the league are employed or affiliated with the Town of Jonesborough, many others are not.
Having relatives on the same team is also common. Two of Ingle’s teammates are a mother and daughter.
Since June 10, the Misfits have played six games and are scheduled to play two nights per week until the season ends on Monday, Aug. 5.
“I love playing,” Ingle said. “I am really glad that the softball league is offered, and I always look forward to the season.”
Game are on Mondays and Thursdays at Persimmon Ridge Park with three games each night, starting at 6:30 p.m.