Updates from the regular season ahead of league tournament in late August
By Hudson Willett EDITORIAL INTERN
The Big Sky softball league is kicking into high gear as the dog days of summer approach.
After battling early season weather delays, the 14 teams have played a range of six to 10 games with about three weeks left in the season. All 14 teams and players are looking to finish strong as they head into the final tournament of the community-led league, scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 26-27.
“The atmosphere is great, it’s one of my favorite places to hang out, people are having a drink, cooking, laughing and just hanging out. It’s just light hearted fun,” Steven Reid, commissioner of the league and LPC team member, told EBS.
The league has also served as a community-oriented fundraiser since its beginning.
“In the 90s, it started as a softball/volleyball league to raise money for the Ophir School, and since then has ballooned and thrived, with some of the original teams and participants still here,” “Queen” Jean Palmer, super fan and an unofficial organizer of the league, told EBS.
The league has had countless highlights so far in the season. This year marked the second “Ladies of the League” all-women’s game.
“We had a great turnout, everyone was encouraging each other and there was a great potluck after, we want to keep that going in years to come,” Palmer said.
“There have been some really great games, a lot of walk-off home runs, upsets, it’s never a dull day down there. It’s something new every day,” Reid added.
The season has not been without its challenges. “We got off to a slow start since it rained almost every day in June, but I don’t think we canceled one in July. A few were close, but people came out and helped with maintenance. The community just stepped up,” Reid said.
“The rain has really hurt us this year, but we want to make sure the conditions are safe,” Palmer said. “The commissioner, Steven, has been a highlight, he’s there every night doing a great job. It’s also just a lot of hard work from everyone, it takes the entire community to make this happen.”
With three weeks remaining, the competition and weather are sure to heat up. Reid, Palmer, and the rest of the league are looking forward to the home run derby on Saturday, Aug. 12. All hitters are welcome and volunteer pitchers are needed, according to Reid. Excitement is also building for the end of season tournament on the last weekend of August when the 2023 champion will be crowned.
The Hillbilly Huckers, last summer’s tournament champion, are poised to defend their title. However, the regular season championship is up in the air after the undefeated Huckers lost to LMLC on Wednesday.
The Huckers will face LPC next week, in what may prove to be a pivotal matchup for the regular season results as both teams have only one loss.