When Regina Colleto and Rachelle Currie contacted Michele Helwick and the Turlock National Little League back in September, they had high hopes for their idea of a new softball league, but didn’t expect the amazing response they received.
Prior to this season, there was no Little League focused on softball in Turlock, only baseball. Girls were allowed to play, but the numbers were largely limited.
It was a successful first season from the start — with the number of players interested doubling their expectations, with five players on every teams’ waitlist.
“It started with a plan to have 75 registrations and four teams. Next thing, we were at 148 registrations… we ended up with 12 teams across three divisions,” said Helwick. “We never saw double numbers coming, TNLL took the bill to start this since there is no equipment and had to buy all these things, but when it exploded, we were super happy and the community and these little girls needed it and we are happy to help.”
Those levels or divisions included are the coach-pitch league which spans from 6 to 8 years old, the AAA level (8 to 10 years old) and the Majors (10 to 12 years old).
The season ran from the second week of March until Saturday.
In the AAA (Minors) league, the Racers took first with an overall record of 9-5. The Rebellion took second at 8-6 and the Wild (6-8) and Comets (5-9) followed.
For the Majors, the Dragons took first with a 10-5-1 record and the Diamonds took second at 10-6. Roadsters (7-7-2) and Firestix (3-12-1) followed.
An All-Stars season is now underway for 10-12-year olds.
“Very successful first season. One thing about Turlock, not many softball fields, so we had to basically go to Denair and play at Denair,” said Helwick. “But we were dedicated to two fields out there on Wednesdays and Saturdays.”
The girls did get brand new uniforms and gear — courtesy of Nike and the Gear-Up program.
The future looks bright for the new Turlock Softball Little League.
“We are happy to keep it at 150, but we may grow it to 175… so five teams at each level,” Helwick added. “But something that our board has to discuss and now that the girls started to play, hopefully we will continue to have more support, we want to see it grow and see more girls playing, see where we go from here.”