Slow-pitch softball league restarting in Brownstown



For nearly 18 years, Ben Tiemeyer spent his summers at Brownstown Park playing in a men’s slow-pitch softball league.

He began playing right out of high school and kept going until 2015.

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Then the league dissolved because only two teams signed up, said Richard “Dick” Burrell, a longtime treasurer for the league. He said the Brownstown Jaycees started the slow-pitch league in the mid-1960s.

“I have not played anywhere since the Brownstown league had canceled,” Tiemeyer said. “I have a lot of friends and I would hear people say every year they would like to play, but it seems like nothing ever got started with it. When I started out of high school, I believe there were 10 teams, and they had to turn teams away. It just seems like it has really died off in the last few years.”

This year, Tiemeyer decided it was time to be back on the field.

Recently sharing a post on Facebook asking if people would be interested in seeing the league restart, he wound up with five teams.

“At first, I didn’t get a whole lot of response,” Tiemeyer said. “But within a few days, I had several guys that put teams together pretty quickly.”

On July 7, the first league games in five years will take place on the softball diamond at the park.

“I’m really looking forward to playing with some good friends, family and especially my son. My oldest just graduated from Brownstown, and he will be playing with us this summer,” Tiemeyer said.

“Our three boys grew up hanging around there a couple nights a week when they weren’t playing themselves, hanging out at the softball field,” he said. “I had always hoped all along that I could still be playing when my boys were old enough to play.”

Tiemeyer recently received approval from the Brownstown Park Board to use the softball field for league games from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 7 to Aug. 20. There will be two hour-and-a-half games each night.

The board approved to set the team fee at $300 and player fee at $25 and agreed the league should be open to men and women at least 18 and graduated from high school.

Players also will sign a liability waiver, allowing them to use the field and agreeing to abide by the park’s code of conduct, which includes zero tolerance of any major disturbance or physical altercation.

As in the past, the league will be sanctioned by the Amateur Softball Association and follow that organization’s rules.

Board President Brian Wheeler said he’s glad to see Tiemeyer take the initiative to restart the league.

“He does have experience in running leagues. I think he will do a nice job,” Wheeler said. “He has agreed to work on the fields and do anything he can. He wants this to be a success, and hopefully, it starts here and grows for next year, which I think will be great.”

Wheeler talked to people who play in leagues in Seymour and Columbus to determine what Brownstown should charge for fees.

Wheeler said in the past, the Brownstown league charged $300 per team and $20 or $25 per player, and many of the teams had those expenses covered with sponsorships.

The fees help cover the park board’s cost of paying an umpire, providing supplies to line and paint the field for games and maintaining the field. Wheeler estimates that will bring in around $3,000 for the park.

“It’s not a great, huge influx of money for the park, but I think it will help at least offset the costs of buying chalk and paint and a cart to put the chalk in,” he said.

After this year’s league ends, Wheeler said dirt work will begin for the softball field reconfiguration project. The park board recently received a $12,200 grant from the Jackson County Visitor Center to put toward the project and will apply for more funding in the fall.

Tiemeyer said he hopes people see the teams playing on the field this summer and will want to join the league next year.

“I’m just hoping we can get it built back up to what it once was of eight or more teams,” he said. “It gives people something to do a couple nights throughout the summer, and one day down the road, maybe I can still be playing and have all three of my boys on the same team.”

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