Youth Baseball, Softball Association to begin registration Saturday

Though the wind chill may distract people, January is almost over, and many organizations are already planning their spring calendars, including sporting organizations.

The Elizabethton/Carter County Youth Baseball and Softball Association is preparing to open up registration for the upcoming season.

Matthew Roark, treasurer for ECCYBSA, was president of the association last year, and he said this will be the group’s third season.

“We had about 60 teams last year, with kids from ages four to 12 years old,” Roark said.

He said the association is different from other youth leagues, in part due to its lack of national affiliation.

“This is a rec league,” he said. “We are not affiliated with any national organization.”

Roark said each team in the ECCYBSA plays roughly 12 to 14 games in the regular season, which typically runs from the first week of April to the first week of June.

He said the association’s first duty is to the community that participates in it.

“There is a lot of travel ball teams these days, and that is not for everyone,” he said. “We want to provide baseball to those who cannot make it on those travel teams.”

He said the sport also serves to develop relationships, especially between the players themselves.

“I still see and hang out with people I played ball with at their age,” Roark said.

The league started completely from scratch roughly three years ago, with the board having to come up with all the legal paperwork on their own. Nowadays, the association is classified as a 501(c) nonprofit. Roark said the experience over the years has helped make the association better for everyone.

“In the past, we had two different leagues in the area, and we merged about three years ago,” he said.

He said the league does not require a certain level of skill in order to join.

“We aim to develop players’ skills,” he said. “Last season, I had a player with zero baseball experience. I can teach any kid how to play baseball.”

He said the association sets rules in place to make sure everyone plays: every single player has to play in at least two innings and has to bat at least once.

“I have never had a single kid not get a hit,” Roark said.

Individual coaches will define their own practice schedules for the season, but Roark said practices typically start in March.

He said the schedule has about two or three games a week on average, though games will not take place on Wednesdays or Sundays. He also said they try to not schedule games to start after 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Registration for ECCYBSA begins on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will then take place every Saturday in February.

Registration fees are $50. Roark said the association does not take checks.

“We have a baseball field in Roan Mountain, and we are trying to expand our reach,” he said. “We try to keep the Roan Mountain teams together as much as we can.”

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