Cazenovia The Cazenovia Board of Education meeting room overflowed with students, parents, coaches and other supporters of the district’s girls’ softball program last Monday, Jan. 27, all of them there to lobby the school board to create a second modified team to accommodate the large influx of new seventh grade players moving up this year.
Without the addition of a second modified team, supporters claim, the program will have to cut about a dozen players this year since the program currently has no junior varsity team and the modified and varsity teams can only have a certain number of players. Such a circumstance could permanently harm the future of the program, since cut players may move to another sport, some argued.
“Frankly, we didn’t see the numbers coming out of the youth program like they did,” said varsity softball coach Ed Roickle. He told the board there are already 42 players signed up for this year’s program, and, without a third team, 10 or 12 girls will get cut. “There won’t be any other way to do it, and it would be a shame to deny them the chance to play,” he said.
The Cazenovia softball program historically has had one varsity, one junior varsity and one modified (grades 7 and 8) team. In 2012, due to large number of ninth and 10th graders on the varsity team, it was decided to temporarily eliminate the JV team while fielding a varsity team of 15 players and a 7-8 modified team of 15 players, for a total of 30 players. Money was included in the budget that year for a JV team but was not used, according to both Roickle and district athletic director Michael Byrnes.
Last year, money for a JV team was again included in the district budget but was not used due to small player numbers at the ninth and 10th grade levels. Instead, the modified team had 18 players and the varsity team has 17 players, Roickle said. After two years without a JV team, no money was budgeted for it in 2014 due to an uncertainty regarding numbers at the seventh and eigth grade levels, but, as it turned out, 42 players signed up, including 32 at the 7-8-9 levels.