LAT league cancels summer softball season



BIG RAPIDS -- After delaying the season for as long as possible, it was announced last week that the 2020 Local Area Teams softball league season would not be taking place.

League organizer and coach of Reed City's team Roger Steig said the decision to cancel the season after previously suspending it was hardly a difficult choice at all.

"We have 10 schools (in the league) and we use school facilities," Steig said. "We're all employees of the schools and there was just a lot of conflict with us. When it got to be June 30, it was best to just cancel the league so everybody wasn't on hold."

Steig said the last day of the season would have at the end of July, and with no solid timeline for when school facilities will be given the green light to reopen, there was no way any games could have even been played in the first place.

Unlike the various travel fast-pitch softball teams and organizations in the area, the LAT is not independent, but is instead affiliated with the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

"We cannot use school facilities or be in competition -- we basically have to follow the MHSAA guideline rules in the LAT League," Steig said.

Each of the 10 schools which make up the LAT League are directly affiliated with their respective school and softball program.

With girls as young as sixth grade and as old as seniors in high school making up the league, Steig said LAT League prepares girls to one day take on the challenge of playing high-school softball at the varsity level.

"The LAT League itself is a really neat league, because it encourages the coaches to stay within their own school's programs, so you're working with your own athletes, basically from sixth grade on up."

As it currently stands, Steig and the other nine coaches from the league, will now have to wait to see if 2021 will fare any better for them.