After several years of stagnation, city adult slow-pitch is booming again.
Bob Stanclift, adult sports supervisor for the parks and recreation department, expects a record number of teams will participate in the city's summer slow-pitch program.
"We had an all-time high of 265 teams in 1994," Stanclift said. "And I think we'll break that."
A total of 251 teams have registered for summer competition that will begin today with four Men's Sunday games, plus action in seven coed divisions.
Stanclift bases his record estimate on the fact the Men's Friday doubleheader leagues are played in two sessions during the summer.
"By the time the second session of the Friday leagues begins, we'll have over 270 teams," Stanclift said.
For the first time in years, however, there won't be a men's upper division. Only one team signed up for Men's One and only three opted for Men's Two, so Stanclift concocted a Men's Two-Three league that will have a limit of three home runs per team per game.
Men's One would have had a five home-run limit.
Nevertheless, five homers per team will be allowed in four leagues -- Men's Sunday, Men's Friday One, Coed Friday One and Coed Sunday One.
Stanclift says he may consider implementing a new version of the home-run limit next year.
For example, if a team is in a league with a three-home run limit, the limit would be extended if each team reaches the maximum.
"After one team reaches three home runs, every home run is an out," Stanclift said. "However, if the other team reaches three, then each team would get one more, and so on."
This will be the third year for Clinton Lake Softball Complex, and the spacious four-diamond facility on Speicher Road off the Southwest Lawrence Trafficway has been upgraded.
Scoreboards are now operational, sidewalks have been installed to the warmup areas and the screen behind each home plate has been raised another six feet to improve safety.
Rule changes this year are few.
"The biggest rule change in ASA softball," Stanclift said, "is anybody who questions balls and strikes can be ejected."
In other words, the umpires have been given more power in dealing with players.
"How strictly that will be enforced," Stanclift said, "will probably be on an individual basis."
-- Chuck Woodling's phone message number is 832-7147. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.