Back on the field

Back on the field

BROADLANDS — Girls at Heritage High School who want to play softball next spring will be able to.

Wearing their school colors, no less.

Heritage, who has been in a co-op with Villa Grove since the 2013-14 school year for all sports other than volleyball, was told earlier this year that Villa Grove no longer wanted to co-op softball, Heritage Superintendent Tom Davis said.

So Heritage decided to host its own softball team again, with games slated to take place next spring at the field behind the high school in Broadlands for the first time since 2013.

"I had started approaching some of our female athletes before this past season got underway to discuss that going on our own next spring was a possibility," Davis said.

Davis said that despite the co-op having a successful season last year and making it to a Class 2A regional championship game, he can relate to Villa Grove's decision.

"I definitely understand Villa Grove's position that they wanted their own team, for competitive and numbers reasons," he said. "

The Heritage school district asked Villa Grove to reconsider having softball in the co-op after the April school board elections, but the Villa Grove board did not reopen discussions on the softball co-op. Davis said Heritage was disappointed the issue was not revisited.

"We had asked the VG board to discuss it," he said, "but I also know that every school board must act how they feel is best for their students' interest."

Heritage, which won a 1A regional title in 2012, is working to hire a head coach and assistant coach. The head coach will be paid $3,728 and the assistant coach will be paid $2,356.

"We are hoping the right candidate will want the challenge of starting back up the program," Davis said.

Heritage entered into a co-op with Villa Grove in 2013 and it has been a rocky merger. When the co-op up came up for renewal this past winter, Heritage asked for the co-op to be a full co-op, including volleyball and softball, with common colors and a common mascot.

Villa Grove wanted to remove softball from the co-op and did not want common colors or a common mascot.

The co-op currently includes football, cross-country, track and field, golf, basketball and baseball.

Villa Grove is the host school for every sport but boys' basketball and baseball.

Currently, the programs in the co-op are paid for by both districts. The districts pay for students' transportation to and from games and practices.

But when it comes to softball, Heritage is already making its own plans.

A schedule is set, with the season slated to start March 16 at Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman.

Davis said he didn't foresee any problems of fielding a team again, either.

"They can be assured of playing time and varsity ball, so I hope the challenge of re-establishing the program will encourage girls to come out for the team," he said. "When I talked to female athletes about it, I told them this was a great opportunity to play and have fun starting something back up."

Sections (3):Prep Sports, Sports, Softball