Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Change is inevitable everywhere and it has proven to be true in the land of softball for Humboldt County and the Eel River Valley. What has traditionally gone through Eel River Valley Little League is now Mad River Girls Fastpitch Softball Association, a part of the Amateur Softball Association.

The change came about as many of the local Little Leagues decided to uncharter girl's softball. Negotiations began taking place to combine the Little League girl's softball programs with Mad River ASA, which was created in 2005 to build a county wide program. Part of the negotiation process was working on a formal name change to include the whole county using a name of Humboldt Fastpitch.

Mad River Girls Fastpitch Softball Association states, “We sincerely thank the players, parents, coaches, volunteers, and sponsors for their continued support and enthusiasm for our organization's Travel Division, the Mad River Mist, and its rapidly expanding Recreational Division.”

ASA, a national nonprofit, volunteer organization founded in 1933, is the strongest softball organization in the country. The United States Olympic Committee named the ASA “The National Governing Body of Softball” pursuant to the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.

The Mad River Girls Fastpitch Softball Association states, “We are dedicated to the development of good citizenship, self-esteem, sportsmanship, and physical fitness within the youth of Humboldt County through participation in recreational and competitive softball.”

The recreational program has been expanding exponentially through a merger with former Little League Softball programs of Humboldt County. Not only has this merger expanded the program, but Humboldt Fastpitch explains: “The merger has brought a wealth of recreational program knowledge and experience provided by the leadership of those organizations that have joined us.”

After merging the leagues together, the new name will formally be changed to Humboldt Fastpitch. Humboldt Fastpitch explains, “We feel this better reflects our organizations goal of bridging, blending and building softball communities through the creation of a county-wide youth Fastpitch softball program.”

Humboldt Fastpitch is having registration for the 2013 Recreational season. The last onsite registration date is on February 24th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center, Big 5 Sporting Goods in Eureka, Sport & Cycle in Fortuna, Ray's Food Place in McKinleyville, through Rowdy Robbins or Wendy George in Hoopa, and Rick Todd for Garberville and Redway areas. The cutoff date for registration is Feb. 28, 2013.

The Recreation Division mandatory softball skill assessments are scheduled for Sunday, March 3 at Fortuna High School and Sunday, March 10 at Arcata High School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Players that are 8 years old or younger do not need to attend these skill assessments unless they wish to play on a high-level team.

Assessments will run by age on March 3 and March 10 with age 10 and under at 9:30 a.m., age 12 and under at 10:30 a.m., and age 14-18 at 11:30 a.m. It is recommended to show up early to warm up and prepare.

There has been a lot of confusion over the new organization and whether they all travel or if there are strictly recreational teams. Humboldt Fastpitch Recreation Program explains, “There is a misconception that ASA is an exclusive competitive travel softball organization. It is not and we host recreation and travel programs under separate divisions of the Mad River Humboldt Fast Pitch Organization. The recreation program is local kids playing on local fields in our local communities.”

For more information or to get a registration form visit their website at www.madrivergirlssoftball.blogspot.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/155033233999 listed as Humboldt Fastpitch.