Batter up: girls’ softball will start play in spring

PIERRE — High school girls’ softball in South Dakota will start in March.

The spring season was approved by the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors at its Jan. 12 meeting in Pierre.

SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director Jo Auch told the board that Class AA schools were in favor of a spring season by a vote of 14-5. The minority of schools favored a fall season.

 Auch said the schools that favor a fall season will likely decide to participate in the spring.

 “They just want the board of make a decision,” said Auch, who noted that at its last meeting the board approved of offering girls’ softball, but did not decide on a time for the season.

There may be as many as 40 schools that offer the new sport. “That’s really a guess,” Auch said.  

In the first-ever girls’ softball season sanctioned by SDHSAA, the first practice will be allowed on March 20 and the first game on March 31. Regional tournaments will be held by May 25 and a state tournament will be held June 1-3.

Schools that wish to offer the sport must have their school board approve a resolution to fully implement softball at their February meeting.

Auch explained that schools can take on the financial responsibility for offering the sport right away, or partner with a local club team during a five-year transition period. This is similar to the way high school soccer was implemented.

During the transition, the school district would share support for the sport with the local club team.

“There are many that are ready to roll with it,” Auch said, noting that a March start may be moving too fast for some school districts. She said some schools may choose to begin their participation in the sport’s second year.

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