South Baltimore Little League Looks to Build Off the Success of its First Year of Girls Softball

| September 13, 2023 | 0 Comments

For the first time in decades, South Baltimore Little League (SBLL) has a girls softball division. Softball was launched for the 2023 spring season, continues with fall ball, and is expecting to expand in 2024.

“I started it because my daughter didn’t want to play baseball anymore,” said Elijah Wirth, who’s daughter Zoe is nine. “She wanted to play with girls and she wanted to play softball.”

Wirth said it kicked off with some fall practices in 2022 and then he “hit the streets recruiting” to get the league off the ground in the spring.

SBLL Softball had a Minors division in the spring with four teams comprised of 45 girls between the ages of seven to 1o. There was also a Majors division with one team of girls between the ages of 10 to 12. This team, the Reds, played against teams from different baseball organizations in the area.

SBLL Softball also put together a 10u and 12u team for the Little League State Tournament.

SBLL Softball had more than 20 parent and community volunteers in 2023.

Talking about the season, Wirth said, “We had a lot of success and a lot of positive feedback. People were excited about having this opportunity for girls.”

“How they clicked together and formed teams and comradery was really cool. It created a real sense of community around the game that wasn’t necessarily there when the girls were playing baseball,” he added.

He also mentioned how the older girls in the division were mentoring the younger girls.

In the State Tournament, the teams were up against strong competition, but Wirth said it was a “great opportunity to motivate each other and see what really good players look like.”

Wirth also put together the SoBo Softball Club, a sister team of the SoBo Baseball Club, which played in several tournaments.

Part of getting softball launched in 2023 was a connection Wirth made with Ebony Johnson, who runs an organization in East Baltimore called PASS Incorporated. PASS stands for Promoting Athletic Scholarship and Sisterhood. The organization runs softball teams called the Dragons but has also dabbled in lacrosse and volleyball. Dragons have 14u and 18u teams that play in the RBI softball league.

Wirth met one of the Dragons coaches at a batting cage and was able to get in touch with Johnson soon after. “I did a ton of networking and everyone said to get in touch with Ebony,” said Wirth.

Johnson was able to put together the 12u team (Reds) for the 2023 season. Johnson noted the team was comprised of mostly first- and second-year players. Most of the roster was girls familiar with the Dragons program from East Baltimore, according to Johnson, as well as some girls from South Baltimore.

“South Baltimore Little League was absolutely a great partnership and it opened up a lot of opportunities for our players,” said Johnson.

“It’s good for parents to know there are opportunities available,” said Johnson. “Baltimore as a whole is trying to develop softball. For it to pop up in areas such as South Baltimore, and not just be clustered in East Baltimore, shows us there is growth potential. Every year the numbers [of Baltimore City softball players] have grown and SBLL will be instrumental in growing softball in the city of Baltimore.”

SBLL Softball had a total of 60 girls in 2023 and Wirth is hoping for 100 in 2024 with a division for girls six to eight years old and a division for nine and 10 year olds.

SBLL Baseball also continues to grow its participation and saw success on the field in 2023 with region championships in the 10u and 11u divisions.

Photo courtesy of South Baltimore Little League 

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