NORTH LIBERTY¬ The North Liberty Youth Baseball and Softball league (NLYBS) recently completed its seventeenth year of providing recreational level baseball and softball opportunities for some 787 boys and girls, ages four to 13. While the majority of kids playing in NLYBS are from North Liberty, the league also has kids from Coralville, Solon, Tiffin and other area communities. In the 2009 summer season, NLYBS had 72 teams playing from May through June, with Junior and Senior softball and baseball teams involved in tournament play to complete the season.
NLYBS teams include T-ball for 4-to-6- year-olds, Rookie teams for both boys and girls ages 7-8 years, Junior League teams for boys and girls ages 9-10 years, and Senior League teams for 11-12 year-olds.
As North Liberty itself continues to grow, so does the participation in NLYBS. Participation increased from 673 last year to 787 kids playing this year, compared to was 570 in 2007.
“We expect these numbers to trend upward as North Liberty and the nearby Corridor continue to expand in population,” said Pitz. “We keep the cost low so that kids who cannot afford club teams still have a chance to play.”
NLYBS is run completely by volunteers and is not affiliated with the City of North Liberty. NLYBS is funded solely by the participants in its programs and by the generous donations made by businesses and other organizations interested in the youth of the community.
“This allows us reinvest our profits into capital improvements like the four new fields that we helped build at Penn Meadows Park,” noted Pitz. The NLYBS Board consists of 13 volunteers and numerous umpires, concession stand workers, city employees, sponsors and others who are vital to supporting the league. “With continued growth anticipated, the need for more volunteers to help NLYBS operate efficiently becomes increasingly important moving forward,” Pitz said.
“We give a hearty thanks to the parents who have stepped forward to help coach the kids. Most of the 72 teams had three coaches each, for an approximate total of 216 coaches,” added Pitz.
This past season, NLYBS offered online registration for the first time, which proved to be a success with over 75% of registrations occurring online. Registration for 2010 will be available by early to mid-February. In addition to the new online registration, NLYBS also implemented a new safety feature of background checks on coaches, umpires and other volunteers associated with teaching the kids the game of baseball and/or softball. One future NLYBS project is the construction of a new concession stand to meet the demands of the increased participation numbers and the family members who come out to watch them play.