"Nothing makes me as happy as seeing girls having a good time on a ballfield,'' says Steve Axthelm, the vice president of softball in the Westport Little League. It's especially satisfying for Axthelm this spring with improvements to the organization's fields at Town Hall.
"These have been the original fields for a very long time,'' Axthelm said as the league celebrated its opening day last Saturday. "Thanks to Jeff White (the chairman of Westport Baseball and Softball) and the Parks and Recreation Department, they recognized a need to make the improvements and they did a fantastic job."
There are two fields at Town Hall. The improvements including improving the field surfaces and backstops, repairing fencing, and painting scoreboards. The fields looked immaculate as they were bathed in sunshine for the league's opening day. The scoreboards are old-fashioned, with hand-painted numbers and team names. "I like hanging the numbers after every inning,'' Axthelm says.
Axthelm says the league recognized the need for improving the field a couple of years ago. Axthelm says 366 girls play in the league, and organization members involved in the boys program wanted to improve the girls' facilities as well. "I was pleased to see all the guys on the boys side helped out and were agreeable to it,'' says Axthelm, who has been involved in the league for 10 years.
The league is hopeful the renovations will help Westport land a tournament in the Fairfield County Fastpitch Softball League in the next few years. The FCFSL holds tournaments in July. Many of the younger players in the Westport program go on to high school careers. "Every kid on the varsity and junior varsity at Staples were out there playing on these fields,'' says Axthelm, whose daughters Emma and Charlotte play for Staples. "Just like these girls."
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