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Jamestown's women's softball league excited for another year

Jamestown's women adult slowpitch softball league is slated to begin next week.

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Chastity Schafer is the director for the women's softball league for Jamestown.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Slow-pitch softball truly is a game for all ages and all kinds of people.

"Softball has been around for many years, and is supported  by a variety of people, because of the support of friends, family and teammates," Jamestown Women's Softball Association League representative Chastity Schafer said.

All the supporters of the sport will get to see twice as much of it if they stop by Jamestown's Hillcrest Softball Complex this summer.

The Jamestown's Women's Softball Association (JWSA) has officially vacated the Stefonek Softball Complex located in McElroy Park and will instead be holding its games on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Hillcrest Softball Complex.

Due to sharing the complex with the adult men's league, the women will be playing games at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

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On Thursdays, the women will begin playing at 6:30 p.m. with a second game to follow at 7:30 p.m.

"I am looking forward to this upcoming season," Schafer said. "We have some changes with playing and sharing the fields with the men's association but overall I believe it will lead us into eventually getting more support for the possibility building more diamonds."

On paper, JWSA certainly has enough interest and numbers in the community to justify potentially putting in another batch of softball fields up at the Hillcrest complex as there has been a consistent interest in the Buffalo City's women's slow-pitch league since it began in the early 1970s.

While the men's adult softball league has been losing one to two teams the last three to four years, there hasn't been all that many teams that have dropped out Jamestown's women's slow-pitch league.

"We have lost a few teams due to COVID within the last few years, however, we are still doing pretty well with sitting around 13 to 15 teams," Schafer said. "We have had an age range of from 14 to 65 that has stayed pretty regular."

This summer, JWSA has 13 teams signed up to compete - seven teams on Tuesdays and six on Thursdays.

Due to sharing the complex with the men's teams on Tuesdays, no more than the seven current teams registered will be competing but Schafer said if teams are interested in joining league play, JWSA would be open to having more teams join the Thursday night league.

Interested parties can contact Schafer through the Jamestown's Parks and Recreation Department.

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Schafer said JWSA is intending to begin league play on May 3 and May 5, weather depending. The schedule is usually about 14 to 15 weeks long each summer. Schafer said the league usually takes off one night for each league night around July 4, so participants are allowed a longer weekend without scrambling to get back into town for games.

Unlike the men's league, Schafer said JWSA does not typically have a league tournament, however, at the end of the season if league officials see that there could possibly be a tie in the league championship, there will be an adjustment to the schedule in order for the teams to play each other.

Aside from league play twice a week, Schafer said JWSA teams regularly travel to some of North Dakota's more rural communities to play tournaments which Schafer said tends to help with the local economy.

"(Members of JWSA teams) often come and do their grocery shopping before or after their games," Schafer said. "They also support local restaurants."

The women's league is responsible for holding a few tournaments each year which helps support the community in the form of fuel, hotel rooms, restaurants and other businesses.

The 2022 women’s state Rec 2 and Rec 4 East tournaments are slated to be held Aug. 13-14 at Jamestown's Stefonek and Hillcrest softball complexes.

The 7th Annual Scott Schafer Memorial Co-Ed Softball Tournament is scheduled to be held on Sept. 24 at Hillcrest.

"When our JWSA teams participate in tournaments we have the biggest support from other JWSA teams cheering everyone on," Schafer said.

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"JWSA managers, players and board members are there not only to compete against one another, but to also support each other. We are all one big support system."

Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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