Softball stimulates local economy, benefits residents

Meredith Idleman plays softball three nights per week, and Mike Fleckner plays on a team from Desert Vineyard church. (Courtesy city of Lancaster)

Meredith Idleman plays softball three nights per week, and Mike Fleckner plays on a team from Desert Vineyard church. (Courtesy city of Lancaster)

LANCASTER – With a record-breaking enrollment of teams for the 2012-2013 Winter League, and a significant regional economic impact, 2012 was a banner year for the City of Lancaster’s softball programs.

“I am ecstatic with the success of the City’s softball program,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The positive impact it has on the local economy and the health of our residents makes it absolutely indispensable to the welfare of the entire region.”

To celebrate the success of the softball program, past and present participants are invited to submit their most memorable team or individual experience while playing City of Lancaster softball. Submissions, along with any accompanying photos or video, are due by February 28 to John Sanders at The City will feature selected testimonials in future promotions of the softball program.

Each year, the Lancaster softball program draws more than 500 local teams over the course of three seasons, making it one of the largest softball programs operating in Southern California. This year was a milestone year for the City, with a record-breaking enrollment of 144 Winter League softball teams for the 2012-2013 season.

“The City of Lancaster runs a first class operation,” said softball player Mike Fleckner, a member of the Desert Vineyard church which brings in 33 teams each year. “We’re happy to be a part of it. They always go the extra mile to help us out—the umpires, the staff and everybody do a great job.”

“It’s a great way to exercise and have fun,” concluded Meredith Idleman, who plays softball three nights per week. “I have high blood pressure, and exercise is a great way to lower my blood pressure, while staying in shape.”

The City of Lancaster has been offering recreational softball for more than 30 years, drawing players from all over the area including Palmdale, unincorporated Antelope Valley communities, Rosamond, Tehachapi, Edwards Air Force Base, California City and Santa Clarita. Several notable participants over the years have included professional baseball players Delwyn Young, Share Monahan, Cory Snyder, Kevin Mitchell, and Steve Yeager; as well as US Olympians Lisa Fernandez and Dot Richardson.

“I receive a lot of positive feedback from the players,” added Rudy Corrales, who has been umpiring for the City of Lancaster for 23 years. “I’ve been able to meet a lot of people. They’re out here to have fun.”

Last year the estimated economic impact of the softball leagues alone was more than a quarter million dollars. In addition, the City of Lancaster’s Big 8 Softball Complex hosts multiple tournaments each year, bringing millions of additional sports tourism dollars into the local economy.

“Our facilities are a staple among softball organizations seeking a reliable, top-notch location for their events,” said Parks, Recreation and Arts Director, Ronda Perez. “What many people don’t realize is that when we host these multiple-day softball championships, it draws a massive influx of visitors, causing a significant boost in local spending at Lancaster’s hotels, restaurants and shops.”

In 2012, Lancaster hosted four youth State Championship softball tournaments, attracting a combined 316 teams from all over Southern California that came to play in the three-day competitions.  This translates to more than 8,500 visitors and an estimated economic impact of $2 million to the local economy. Lancaster will host these same four tournaments again in 2013, as well as additional events.

For more information on the Big 8 Softball Complex and the City’s softball program, contact Lancaster Parks, Recreation & Arts Department Recreation Operations Manager, Jeff Campbell, at (661) 723-6075.

(Information via press release from the city of Lancaster.)

  1 comment for “Softball stimulates local economy, benefits residents

  1. Honest bat player
    February 12, 2013 at 8:54 am

    well I hope with all this “success” the program has had they can finally purchase a bat density tester. WAY to many players in the city use loaded and dirty bats. People get hurt all the time because the ball comes off the bat at an incredible speed. I also hope the city takes care of the umpires that supply these illegal dirty bats. why would a person want to cheat in city softball?

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