SEASIDE — Summer baseball in Clatsop County is pretty well established, with leagues and levels for just about any age.

Summer softball, on the other hand, is still trying to catch on, at least for the high-school-age players.

They’re getting close, said Astoria coach Lou Marconeri, whose summer squad took on a team from Seaside Monday afternoon in a single game at Wahanna Field.

Astoria won the game, 12-5 (or something close to it) – but the coaches weren’t really concerned with the score. They’re just trying to get summer softball off the ground.

In the summer months, high school boys have Junior State Baseball – which has all the local schools fielding teams, along with Rainier, Clatskanie, Tillamook and Neah-Kah-Nie/Nestucca.

“That’s what our goal is, but it just seems hard to do on the girls’ side,” said Astoria varsity softball coach Marconeri. “I can't put my finger on what the issue is, other than a lot of them work, and once they start driving, they need to pay for their insurance.

“We’ll try our hardest to get it going,” he said. “All the coaches are sure enthused about doing it. We all just seem to struggle with getting enough players to play.”

Monday’s game was just the third of the summer for the Seaside team, and only the second for Astoria.

While there’s usually an abundance of players for baseball, it’s tough get enough players together to form a softball team in the summer.

Monday’s Clatsop Clash was originally scheduled to take place last month, but the Lady Fish could only come up with six players for that one, and the game was postponed.

Seaside had 10 players for Monday’s game, and it took a big effort to get that many.

“I usually send a text out, so I can let them know right away where our game is and what time, so I can know how many players we’ll have,” said Seaside coach Jen Glasson. “It’s tough, working around jobs and schedules for other sports,” which usually includes summer camps for soccer, volleyball and basketball.

Players are trying to include some softball in their busy summer schedules, Glasson said.

“They’ve been trying to work their schedule around so they can play,” she said. “My third baseman will come flying in around 5 o’clock, because that’s when she gets off her shift.”

When it comes to softball in the Cowapa League (and the Lewis & Clark League, for that matter), if you want to compete in the spring, you must compete in the summer.

The local leagues were well represented at the state level last spring, when Banks won the Class 4A state championship, and Rainier won the Class 3A state title.

Schools closer to Portland have the benefit of having their players compete on Portland-area all-star teams in the summer.

“When they play all year, and they have five or six pitchers deep … it’s tough to compete with them,” Glasson said. “A lot of those girls play on all-star teams. Yamhill has all-star teams from T-ball all the way up.”

Baseball is a dominant sport on the North Coast for the same reason, with many players competing on summer all-star teams at the Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth and Junior State levels.

Astoria (with eight straight Cowapa crowns) and Knappa both won league championships last spring, while the Fishermen, Loggers and Warrenton Warriors have all won state championships in the recent past. Local softball coaches are hoping their sport follows suit.

Fortunately, that’s the trend, with local 10U, 12U and 14U softball teams playing (and winning) tournaments. The North Coast Merchants usually spend most of their summer winning regional tournaments.

Seaside varsity players Paige Ideue, Jetta Ideue and Whitney Westerholm “play for Staci Miethe’s 14U team, and they just finished ninth out of 40 teams at state,” Glasson said.

Miethe currently coaches Warrenton High’s varsity team, which just had one of its best seasons in recent years.

“Staci’s a great coach, and if my kids can play for her in the summer, I’m happy as long as they’re playing and getting experience,” Glasson said. “She’s great at getting them into the ASA tournaments.”

Marconeri said he has five players on the same 14U team.

Meanwhile, for Monday’s game at Seaside, Astoria had two seniors-to-be, three freshmen, one eighth grader and one seventh grader.

Whoever you can get, Marconeri said.

“Between work and all the other sports, it’s tough to get a lot of kids,” he said. “They have soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball going.”

Practices are usually out of the question.

“We tried to practice two or three times, but we could only get four kids out,” Marconeri said.

The ultimate goal is to have a summer league of local teams for high school-age softball players.

“That’s what I'm hoping we can get,” Glasson said, “to where we can get an established league with enough teams to play. We should be able to get in at least 20 games in the summer. The 10-and-unders have been playing a ton, but these girls (the high school players) have been waiting.”

And there’s always the possibility that local schools will combine, just to have enough players to field teams.

“We’re thinking about doing that too,” Marconeri said. “Knappa and Ilwaco put a team together this summer. Whatever it takes.”



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