The Beginning of Ellington Girls Softball
The Ellington Little League Girls Softball Program was started in 2003. With Support from Recreation Director, Bob Tedford, and the dedicated efforts of the parents of Ellington, the dream of a girls chartered Little League program became a reality.
The founding Board of Directors are as follows:
President – Bob Tedford
V-President – Lori Savino
Secretary – Colleen Palozej
Treasurer – Mike Golden
Safety Officer – Don Skewes
Coaches Representative – Vinny Savino
Major League Director – Dan Sitek
Jr/Sr League Director – Gilbert Gioia
The first year, the league registered 120 girls ranging in age from 7 to 14. Eleven eams were established that year with one Senior League team managed by Beth Tautkus. Four Major League teams each managed by Vinny Savino, Rick Pallotti, Dave Blanchard and Keith Ramsdell. Three Minor League teams each managed by Karen Conley, Don Skewes and Dennis Schroth and three Rookie League teams each managed by Carol Skorulski, Vinny Savino and AnnMarie Kardys.
Opening Day Ceremonies took place on Sunday April 27th at Brookside Park – Lisa’s Field. The National Anthem was performed by a Clifford Schofer – father of player, Anna Schofer, Bob Tedford made his opening remarks, Vinny Savino, introduced the coaches who in turn introduced their players and Michael Stupinski, Ellington’s First Selectman threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Immediately following the ceremony, players were invited to participate in a softball clinic conducted by Gilbert Gioia, the Ellington HS Varsity Softball Coach and a few of the varsity and junior varsity players.
The league then moved on to post-season play, participating in their first ever All Star Tournament in the Majors and Minors divisions. These first teams were managed by Vinny Savino (Majors) and Karen Conley (Minors). Both teams made strong runs in the post season with the Majors Division going to the District 8 Championship game, only to lose to South Windsor 6-2.
Since that time, the league has seen steady growth, averaging 170 participants during the regular season, and has established itself as a constant contender in post season tournament play as evidenced by recent District 8 championships in all three divisions –2007 Minors (9/10 year old) division; 2008 Majors (Little League 11/12 year old) division; 2008 Juniors (13/14 year old) division; 2009 Minors (9/10 year old) division.
The continued success of the organization is made possible by not only the dedicated individuals who serve on our Board of Directors each year, but also the many registered volunteers each season who assist with not only coaching but also helping with managing and/or working in the concession stand, officiating league games and running clinics in the off season.
In 2006, the league was successful in getting their first approved League Safety Plan through LL International, and continues to make player safety a priority by enhancing equipment, playing fields and establishing mandatory training for league managers and coaches.
Working closely with the Ellington Recreation Department and the Ellington Department of Public Works Department, several enhancements to the program have been realized. The first major improvement was the installment of an electronic scoreboard at Lisa’s Field.
The two main fields at Brookside Park have also had improvements made as follows: Both Field 2 and Lisa’s Field have had the infield surface skinned in 2008 to conform with fields used by most fast pitch softball teams. In addition, Field 2 had dugouts added in 2007 along with additional fencing along the first and third base lines with safety being the sole purpose for these enhancements.
In 2006 the Windermere School softball field was established as a regulation size field where our Rookie Division games are played. Along with the safety fencing added to Field 2, this field also received safety fencing in 2008 and a storage bin for first aid and extra supplies. Most recently in 2009, a storage building was added adjacent to Lisa’s field where the league is now able to store the league’s equipment and uniforms.
In order to make this all possible, the league is also very involved in fundraising to assist the league with the above mentioned enhancements. Each year, Carol Skorulski and Karen Conley have organized the league’s Holiday Wreath Fundraiser and have raised several thousand dollars with their efforts. In 2005, the league joined with the Ellington LL program to run the concession stand at Brookside Park. Also, I would be remiss if I also did not mention our local sponsors who continue to support our program through either uniform or sign sponsorship. Without their financial support, we would not be able to have regulation uniforms for our players and the necessary equipment to use for the season.
Vice President, President, and Past President of Ellington Girls Little League Softball