MONTESANO — Opening day for the Montesano Girls Softball season was bright and sunny for various reasons on May 4.
Crait Field was overwhelmed with parents, supporters and of course the 16 teams that make up this year’s 14U through t-ball teams.
After the raising of the flag by the Montesano Fire Department and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem sung by Grays Harbor Community Foundation Executive Director, Jim Daly; the Montesano Girls Softball Association was awarded a check for $24,640 by Daly to league president Lynsi Polanco.
This year’s first pitch was sent across home plate by Taleigha Greene. Greene, a member of the 10U Lions, was diagnosed last season with an inoperable brain tumor, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Since her treatments the tumor is shrinking and brought big smiles from the assembled crowd as she tossed the ball to her favorite baseball player, her brother, Tyvon Bowen, waiting behind the plate.
Staying with tradition the teams were announced and ran one by one from the outfield to home plate receiving an opening season high five and applause from the crowd.
Opening day games provided three games at Crait and another three games at Hyde fields.
The Montesano Bulldogs fastpitch team hosted Lakeside of Nine Nile Falls team to open the day of sport. The Bulldogs played an inspiring game to defeat the Eagles 8-5 in a late game-hitting rally. And left the field open for the younger athletes to drive in a few runs.
The 10U Rockets hosted the Wildcats for the first youth softball game followed by 8U Rockets v. Warriors. The final game at Crait saw the Monsoons play the Lions at the 10U level.
Over at Hyde Park the line up for the first two t-ball games was, Angels v. Little Ladies and Starz v. Rainbows. The final game was an 8U game, Lions hosting the Wildcats.
For several years members of the sports community have been making improvements to the parks of Montesano. One of the latest projects was to improve the ball fields of Montesano, especially Crait and Nelson Fields. The MGSBA wrote a proposal to the Grays Harbor Community Foundation and waited for their determination.
“We were impressed with how much work had gone into the project,” said Daly, “it’s not just about how much they have already done, but the commitment of the organization.”
The turf project stretches well past the city parks of Montesano and has supporters as far as Hoquiam. The Foundation received 22 applications for funding and chose five projects to fund for a total of $133,965, during a special non-profit granting program.
“We saw the community partners involved and were impressed,” said Cassie Lentz, the foundation’s program officer, “We could see that the proposal would bring the most bang for the buck.”
With the turf project at Crait Field scheduled to start at the end of the summer sports season, the MGSBA will use the money to help off-set the purchase of turf that is slated to be installed.