Three former and two current Central Florida high school softball players will be helping a new Babe Ruth league softball tournament program called Babe Ruth Xtreme Softball.
Richelle Raley, who graduated from Winter Springs in 2008 before playing at Daytona State College and the University of North Florida, is the assistant state commissioner for the program, designed to keep older girls involved in Babe Ruth softball.
Raley said the league loses players once they hit 14 years old in favor of tournament ball, The idea of Xtreme Softball is to offer one tournament a month for some of the more advanced players to participate in.
Raley, along with former Winter Springs player Christine Pulliam, former Lake Mary pitcher Hope Bitzer, (who played at Rollins College), current Winter Springs player Elizabeth Birle and Lake Howell player Ashia Kerr, will be conducting a clinic at Winter Springs High School on March 22 from 6-8 p.m., to introduce players to the new program. There will be an Xtreme tournament played at Merrill Park in Altamonte Springs on March 23-24.
“Xtreme Softball is Babe Ruth’s new tournament division,” Raley said. “This was created to try to combat girls leaving Babe Ruth once they hit 14 to go play tournament ball. It is envisioned that the tournaments will be an alternative to league play for the advanced players. Our goal is to have one Xtreme tournament a month.“
The plan is for the tournament's to offer competition in 8-and-under, 10-and-under, 12-and-under, 14-and-under and 16-and-under age brackets. This year, teh first for the program, there are only three tournament scheduled. The one at Merrill Park, one at Middleburg high School's Oakleaf Softball Complex ion April 13-14 and a third hosted by Longwood and Winter Park in May.