Pitch, Hit, & Throw Fundraiser!

Pitch, Hit, & Throw Fundraiser Event

To kick off the Spring 2019 Durham Softball season and introduce everyone to our new home at Shepard Magnet Middle School, we are hosting a fundraiser!

MARCH 17, 2019 from 10:00am to 2:00pm

We will be playing three “Carnival-Style” softball games, with a chance to win prizes, t-shirts, and gift cards! For $10, you’ll receive a ticket to play all three games.

PITCH: You’ll throw 7 pitches. +1 point for every pitch that hits the plate.
HIT: You’ll hit 7 balls (tossed to yourself or off a tee). +1 point for hitting the target.
THROW: You’ll throw 7 balls at three balls placed on tees. +1 point for each you knock off.

There will be a grand prize for the person with the best overall score, and random prizes given out to all entrants. Your score will be recorded on the card and entered into the overall leaderboard. The Player with the highest total number of points, wins.

The grand prize winner will receive a Durham Softball Fan Shirt, an engraved softball with their award and title, and two Free Registrations for Durham Softball’s Summer 2019 season. All entrants will be entered into a random drawing to receive Fan Shirts and other items donated by event sponsors.

For each entry’s tie-breaker, we’re also collecting CANNED FRUITS AND VEGGIES for PORCH-Durham‘s Backpack Buddies program! Your tie-breaker score will be your Bozo Wiffle Bucket Toss score multiplied by the number of cans you donate, so help support a good cause and improve your chances of winning!

Thanks to Once Upon A Child Durham and Family Care supporting our cause and donating gift certificates and prizes for the event!

If you have any questions, please let us know!

How Team Assignments Are Determined

We have 16 amazing charities to choose from and believe every Team Sponsor is worthy of your efforts, but we understand that there might be several players or teams who would prefer to play for the same specific charity. Since we are growing this year and have a lot of teams returning, I thought it would be helpful to outline exactly how the teams are being assigned this season. Because we have more full teams returning, the priority system is a little more complicated this year.

Team Assignments will be determined in the following order:

  1. Previous Year’s Team Renews. If a group played for a particular charity last season and brings back at least half of the same group, they will have first priority to retain their previous Charity. This priority expires on 3/1, at which time the team becomes available to outside Players.
  2. New Teams. If a Group signs up to play for a brand new Team Sponsor (eg. NCFFF, C2C), it is first come, first serve. Unless 9+ Free Agents have already signed up for their Team, these Teams are taken as soon as a Group pays for them.
  3. Order of Registration. If you sign up first, you win any tie-breakers against anyone else that may be competing for the same roster spot.
  4. Groups Stay Together. Because we prioritize keeping your Group together, your Team Assignment may be forced based on other Group registrations. Your Group will always play together, but may be assigned to different teams to balance rosters.
  5. Male / Female Balance. If necessary, Teams may be cut off from adding either Males or Females. The goal is to have 10 Males and 6 Females per team.

That covers the basics, but we’re glad to answer any questions about Team Assignments by contacting us here. There is probably going to be a bit of wiggle room and compromise within this structure, so hopefully we make a fun and balanced league.

Regardless of how the Teams play on the field, here is a description of the causes we are helping through our 16 local non-profit Sponsors:

Good luck to everyone!

2019 Durham Softball Haiku Contest

I know you were all waiting for it, so here we go…

THE 2019 DURHAM SOFTBALL HAIKU CONTEST IS OFFICIALLY OPEN!

Still with us? Cool! This year we’re trying a little different format.

Starting on Thursday, February 21, we will be accepting entries to our annual softball/baseball haiku contest. The contest is free to enter and anyone is eligible to win. Poets who wish to enter the contest must submit their haiku as a Guest Post on our Facebook page’s 2019 Haiku Contest Event Page before March 1, 2019.

All valid entries will then be included on a single ballot, beginning March 2, 2019. Members of the general public will have the opportunity to submit their votes for the “Best” haiku, according to these general standards:

  1. Relates to the game of softball or baseball. The haiku must be about softball or baseball. A haiku about soccer will not win (don’t even try it, Joe). The more specific and authentic to the core nature of the sport, the better.
  2. Sounds like a haiku. Make it poetic, abstract, and beautiful. Don’t be obvious. Leave room for interpretation.
  3. Build excitement for the game. Inspire someone to go play catch. Or, pick up a bat and take some practice swings. They’re gonna kill it this year, and they know it. Encourage them.

After all votes are tallied, we’ll settle on a Final 3. These finalists will then go up against each other in a public vote (on Facebook) for the Grand Prize.

The winner will receive a Free Durham Softball Fan Shirt, an engraved softball with their name, and the prestigious title of 2019 Durham Softball Haiku Champion!

If you have any questions about the contest, please ask!

2019 Game Changes

This post describes some of the major changes that returning Players will notice from our 2018 season. We are changing venues and trying to accommodate new challenges this year, so we hope to provide the best game possible within the restrictions we’re given. If you have any questions, email Ryan.

Registration fee increased by $5.

Last Spring, we charged $55 + Tax for an individual registration for 10 weeks of Softball. This year, we’re charging $60 for the same thing. Why?

This year, Durham Softball has partnered with Shepard Middle School to help renovate and maintain the Shepard baseball field for their student athletes. Our league is committing the majority of our Durham Bulls Field Renovation Grant winnings from 2018 into the initial renovations of the field, but it will require additional yearly maintenance fees to maintain the field and keep it perfect for everyone that uses the field.

We believe we can reach 200+ players per season and have committed to providing Shepard with a minimum of $2,000 per year to help maintain their facilities, so everyone can pay their share of the field maintenance budget by paying an additional $5 for each season’s registration fee. We hope to create the best middle school baseball field in the district over the next few years. We believe a $5 increase in fees is well worth the improved quality of the field we get the play on every Sunday.

Team Fee Increased

Last year, a full 16-player team cost $650 + Tax. This year, the same team will cost $750 + Tax.

Most of the increase is explained by the $5 per player increase for everyone ($80 of the $100 increase for 16 Players). For the extra $20, I realized last year that I still need to buy 16 jerseys. Sort of forgot that part in the budget last year and had to reduce our donation pool by about $200 to pay for it. The extra $20/team will go towards making sure we can still pay the minimum costs to include any additional person in the league and still not reduce the amount of our donation pool relative to each team.

Fences pushed back.

Last year, we played on a short outfield fence. This year, the field’s dimensions will be more in line with a traditional slow-pitch softball field.

FIELD LEFT FIELD CENTER FIELD RIGHT FIELD
RTP Field 264’ 268’ 262’
Shepard Field 288’ 295’ 272’
Difference +24’ +27’ +10’

Bases increased to 80’.

Last year, we played on 65’ bases. This season, we are increasing the distance between each base to 80’. Because we are partnering with Shepard Middle School, we are standardizing the distances available on the field. Middle School uses 80’ bases, so we will use 80’ bases. To make it simpler for everyone, we’re going to align our league with their dimensions.

Most adult softball leagues play on 70’ bases, so we’re still trying to work out a way to get the distance down. We are complying with Durham Public Schools field requirements and accommodating the current grass infield at Shepard, so 80′ is currently the only current option available. Because we believe strongly in supporting public schools with our field budget and are grateful for the opportunity, we’re happy to adjust our game. Players will have to run more (60′ more on a homer, almost an entire base from last year), but it should make it a fair balance with the larger field. I’m interested to see how it impacts scoring during the season. Regardless of the distance, the important thing is that the field is the same for both Teams.

Game Times

Starting game times will vary depending on how many Teams sign up to play this season. Here are the possible options:

  • 10 Teams: 12:00pm, 1:10pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:40pm
  • 11-12 Teams: 11:00am, 12:10pm, 1:20pm, 2:30pm, 3:40pm, 4:50pm
  • 13-14 Teams: 11:00am, 12:05pm, 1:10pm, 2:15pm, 3:20pm, 4:25pm, 5:30pm
  • 15-16 Teams: 10:00am, 11:05am, 12:10pm, 1:15pm, 2:20pm, 3:25pm, 4:30pm, 5:35pm

Summer League games may be moved earlier due to sunlight restrictions on the 5:30pm games. Notice will be made at the start of the Summer Season.

Pitcher’s Safety Rule

Any line drive that hits the pitcher in the air is an out. A “line drive” is defined as a batted ball that does not hit the ground or rise above the pitcher’s head before contact with the pitcher. The ball does not have to be caught, it only needs to be touched while the pitcher is defending themselves. Rule is void if the pitcher leaves the Safe Zone to put themselves in the path of the ball.

Pitcher “Safe Zone” will be 6’ Wide x 8’ Long. Center of Vertical will be a direct line from Home Plate to 2nd Base. Center of Horizontal is 4’ in front of the Pitching Rubber.

This rule was designed to protect our pitchers. By allowing the pitcher to get an out on any touched ball, the batter will be encouraged to avoid hitting it at the pitcher. This is a good thing.

Minimum Female Roster Requirements

There will be new requirements for the minimum number of players and females that are necessary to field a valid roster. Like last year, there must be a minimum of 8 players to start a game, with no maximum.

  • Team only has 1 female: The Team must forfeit. A scrimmage game can be played, but the offending team will be forced to take a 7 to 0 loss.
  • Team only has 2 females: The game can be played, with the offending Team incurring an automatic out to start every inning. The Team can have no more than 10-Players in their batting lineup (eg. MMMMFMMMMF). A female may not play Catcher.
  • Team has 3 or more females: The game can be played, as normal!

 Tiered Warning System

One of the best things about out league last season was the high-level of sportsmanship that all our teams showed. Our players truly understood the purpose and spirit of the league, and it showed on the field. As our league grows and the games become more competitive, we must account for the possibility that discipline will be required. This will be the formal, tiered discipline system that we will enforce in the event it becomes necessary.

  • Strike 1: In-Game Warning
    • If your actions are disrespectful or unsportsmanlike enough to cause an escalated action by the umpire, you will receive your first strike. You may remain in the game and continue playing in the league.
  • Strike 2: Ejected From Game
    • If you commit a second act of unsportsmanlike conduct, you will be removed from the current game, but will be allowed to play in your team’s next game.
  • Strike 3: Ejected From League
    • If you commit a third act of unsportsmanlike conduct, you will be removed from the current game and be forced to leave the league. You will not be allowed to register for future seasons.

2019 Field Changes

Hello!

I hope you all had a fun softball season! This post explains why the Durham Softball League is moving fields this season and what to expect from our new facility.

Last season, I started Durham Softball through a partnership with the RTP Foundation. We recruited 12 great local non-profits to join our cause and I received tremendous feedback and support from the community about the idea. More than 220 people played softball for charity this season and we were able to donate more than $2,500 to local charities. In June, we won a $10,000 grant from the Durham Bulls based on our proposal to renovate RTP Field #2 because the Bulls wanted to support our mission.

In July 2018, I met with Directors at RTP that would be involved in the project to discuss the plans for the field’s improvements. I expected excitement about the opportunity to renovate the fields and gain public recognition for helping local charities. Instead, I learned a lot about the corporate structure of the Research Triangle Park organization and why this news put them in a difficult situation. There are rules that restrict the fields from being used by non-RTP employees and the tax structure of the organization meant they had a hard time accepting funds from outside sources, like our grant.

Because of that difficulty, the RTP Foundation has decided that they cannot be partnered with Durham Softball in 2019. Further, RTP requested that the two leagues become separate entities and that my involvement with Durham Softball was a potential conflict of interest for RTP Softball. I was forced to resign as RTP Softball Commissioner. It was also determined that Durham Softball would not be allowed to renovate RTP Field #2 or play on the field next season, so those plans have been cancelled.

The good news, however, is that we didn’t give up. Durham Softball is now operated by Play NC, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit, founded by Ryan Mentock, that has no relationship with the RTP Softball League or the RTP Foundation. After being forced to find a new home for our league, I had the idea to partner with a local school to help fix their fields. It was a lot more work than expected and the project took over the majority of my free time for the last 6 months, but it was worth it.

The Durham Softball League is moving to Shepard Magnet Middle School at 2401 Dakota St, Durham, NC 27707 for the 2019 Season. We will be partnering with Shepard to renovate their baseball field so that the improvements we make will benefit our league and the kids of Shepard at the same time.

Last season, our league spent exactly $0 in field maintenance expenses. This season, we have committed a substantial amount of funds to help renovate and maintain the Shepard field. Some of the renovations will be paid for by our league’s grant winnings, but that alone will not be enough to cover our anticipated renovations over the next few years. To make a better field for everyone, we have increased our registration fees by $5 per player, per season. This will help us subsidize the field’s renovations and make for a better long-term facility.

We hope this explains the change in locations and that you’ll understand the added $5 value of not only improving our league’s field, but improving the field that the Shepard kids play on, as well. Our league’s entire purpose is to benefit the Durham community, so we thought this partnership would be a perfect fit for our league.

Ryan

2019 League Schedule

The Durham Softball League starts playing games during the first week of April each year. Easter is on April 21 this season, so the 2019 season will start on Sunday, March 31. The year will be split into two separate seasons (Spring and Summer), with the second season beginning one week after the first season’s Championship game.

Season Schedule

During 2019, there are 25 eligible weeks during the year where Durham Softball League games may be played:

Date Week of Games
Sunday, March 31, 2019 1
Sunday, April 7, 2019 2
Sunday, April 14, 2019 3
Sunday, April 21, 2019 NO GAMES – EASTER
Sunday, April 28, 2019 4
Sunday, May 5, 2019 5
Sunday, May 12, 2019 NO GAMES – MOTHER’S DAY
Sunday, May 19, 2019 6
Sunday, May 26, 2019 NO GAMES – MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
Sunday, June 2, 2019 7
Sunday, June 9, 2019 8
Sunday, June 16, 2019 NO GAMES – FATHER’S DAY
Sunday, June 23, 2019 9
Sunday, June 30, 2019 10
Sunday, July 7, 2019 NO GAMES – JULY 4TH WEEKEND
Sunday, July 14, 2019 11
Sunday, July 21, 2019 12
Sunday, July 28, 2019 13
Sunday, August 4, 2019 14
Sunday, August 11, 2019 15
Sunday, August 18, 2019 16
Sunday, August 25, 2019 17
Sunday, September 1, 2019 NO GAMES – LABOR DAY WEEKEND
Sunday, September 8, 2019 18
Sunday, September 15, 2019 19
Sunday, September 22, 2019 20
Sunday, September 29, 2019 21
Sunday, October 6, 2019 22
Sunday, October 13, 2019 23
Sunday, October 20, 2019 24
Sunday, October 27, 2019 25
Sunday, November 3, 2019 26
Sunday, November 10, 2019 NO GAMES – VETERAN’S DAY WEEKEND
Sunday, November 17, 2019 27
Sunday, November 24, 2019 28
Sunday, December 1, 2019 29
Sunday, December 8, 2019 30
Sunday, December 15, 2019 31
TOTAL 31 Weeks to Play 22 Weeks

The league does not play games on Sunday when national holidays fall on a Sunday or Monday during the year.

With 8 Regular Season Weeks and 1 Playoff Week, the two seasons will require a total of 18 Sundays each year. With 26 Eligible Sundays between April 8 and November 1, we have 8 “built-in” weeks to accommodate rain-out reschedules and still get both seasons in before the end of the year.

Spring Season: Starts Sunday, March 31, 2019; ends after 10 eligible weeks.

The Spring league has the potential to finish on July 14th, which is the 11th eligible week of the season. With at least a couple rain-outs likely, a more realistic date for the Championship game might be July 21 or July 28. Whenever the Championship game from the Spring season is played, the Summer season will begin exactly one week later.

Summer Season: Starts 1 weeks after Spring Season ends; ends after 10 eligible weeks.

If the Summer season’s “one week later” start date lands on a holiday, the season will start two weeks later. This means the earliest that the Summer season might begin is July 21, because it is one week after the earliest date that the Spring season could end. Because it is unlikely for the Spring season to be completed with out any rain-outs, a more realistic date for the Summer season’s Opening Day is July 28 or August 4.

With good weather, it is possible to end both seasons as early as October 6th, the 22nd eligible week of the season. For each rain-out during the year, the seasons would get one week longer.

Weekly Schedule

Games are played on Sundays and start between 10am and 5pm.

  • Each team will play a single game each day.
  • The regular season will consist of 10 games.
  • The 11th week of each season will feature two single-elimination tournaments. The Consolation Tournament will be played between the Bottom 4 teams competing for 5th Place; the Championship Tournament will be played by the Top 4 teams competing for 1st Place.

“Featured Organization” Each Week

All teams will have a single week where their non-profit is featured to highlight and promote their non-profit to the other members of the league. The captain of the team, or a representative of the non-profit, is invited and encouraged to stay for the remaining games to talk with the other teams before their game, let them know more about your organization, and collect any donated items that teams may bring to the fields.

Rain-Outs / Rescheduling Games

When a week gets rained out, all games are rescheduled for the last week of the regular season. This makes sure that most games on the schedule are played as originally scheduled at the start of the season so players can better plan their weekends ahead of time.

If some games are played, but other games need to be rescheduled, those games would always be made up during the last week of the season, even if other games get rained out after them. In an emergency, alternate arrangements to play games earlier/later in the day may be considered if both teams agree to the accommodations.

Due to time restrictions, the Spring season must end no later than the end of July, with the Summer season ending no later than the end of October. If we get rained out more than 4 times, games that cannot meet these time frames may be forced to cancel entirely.

2018 Final Budget Report

Budget for Durham Softball, a charity softball league in Durham, NC
Final 2018 Budget Report for Durham Softball! Thanks to everyone for playing and making this year possible. Here is the recap of a few goals we had for the league this year and how close we came to achieving them:

1. Field a league with 8 teams of players. 
We only had 5 in the Spring, but we had 11 in the Summer. We averaged 8 teams per season, so we’ll call that a SUCCESS.

2. Donate 40% of our revenues. 
We definitely underestimated the cost of certain items in our budget, but they ended up being necessary to build a foundation for future seasons. Still, I think hindsight has shown that was way too optimistic. After going through Year 1, I’d now say 22.75% is pretty solid, but we FAILED on this one.

3. Donate more than $3,000. 
We *only* donated $2,800 in cash and didn’t quite hit $3,000, but our physical item donation drives were much more successful than I anticipated. With an estimated value of an additional $2,500 worth of items donated, I think we should call this a SUCCESS.

4. Get the Durham Bulls Baseball Club to acknowledge our league’s existence. 
We were really just hoping for a Twitter shout out or something, but we won their $10,000 Ballpark Renovation Grant and got invited onto the DBAP field to represent our league at a Bulls game. That was incredible. I still can’t believe it happened, but there are photos so I’m pretty sure it was real. Huge SUCCESS here.

5. Reach 500 Facebook Followers. 
We didn’t make it to 500, but the Followers we do have are great. If you’ve read this far and you’re still reading because you care about this league, you’re extra awesome. We FAILED, but maybe we’ll get there before next season!

Going 3 for 5 sounds like a pretty good game, so we’ll take it! Thanks again for playing everyone!

2018 Summer Playoff Format

With four teams now half way through their regular season schedule, here is a reminder of this season’s playoff structure. Just like last season, each victory in the playoffs will earn $50 for that team’s sponsor! The Championship Bracket’s winner will earn $200 for their charity, so we’ll have at least $600 up for grabs over the two week tournament. Should be a fun couple of weeks!

Durham Bulls Ballpark Renovation Project Award Presentation

Durham Bulls Ballpark Project

Our league applied for the $10,000 Durham Bulls and Coastal Credit Union Ballpark Renovation Project grant, awarded to four deserving organizations in the Triangle area. And we won! From Capital Broadcasting:

Four organizations have been chosen as the inaugural winners of the Durham Bulls Ballpark Project presented by Coastal Credit Union. Person High School, Bull City Little League, Durham Softball and Hillsborough Youth Athletic Association have each earned a $10,000 donation for facility renovations.

“This was an extremely tough decision for our committee, as every application was well-done,” Durham Bulls Vice President Mike Birling said. “In the end, these four organizations stood out not only as worthy groups, but as locations which will help to grow the sports of baseball and softball for years to come.”

Person High School will have renovations made to both its baseball and softball fields, and Bull City Little League will see an improvement to its facility which houses three fields. The Durham Softball facility will have an overhaul for the first time since it was built, and Hillsborough Youth Athletic League will see renovations for its over 500 children who participate in its leagues each year.

Each facility will be renovated in the coming months, with a list of priorities submitted by each location. Additionally, representatives from each organization will be honored on-field at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday, August 7.

I am super excited about what this means for our league and our future in Durham sports. I want to thank all the players for believing in the concept and making this amazing league possible.

To celebrate, get your Durham Bulls tickets for Tuesday, August 7 through this link! The Bulls and Columbus Clippers will play a doubleheader (two 7-inning games) starting at 6:05pm.

As if $2 Taco Tuesday wasn’t enough motivation to attend, we get to accept the $10,000 check for our league on the field in-between the two games! Special tickets are discounted down to just $8.99 and two sections of tickets have been reserved for all winners!

Represent our league and wear your Durham Softball shirt, if you can. I’ll make a cool, custom Durham Softball keychain for anyone who wears their Durham Softball jersey and tags our league in a Facebook post on your personal timeline or on our page’s timeline. Show off your Durham Softball pride and help support the other three deserving winners during the ceremony in-between games of the double header! I hope to see you there!

https://groupmatics.events/event/BallparkChallenge