Phil Briggs is trying to make a difference in his community.
So much that he has organized a chapter of the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken League, and he is hoping the league will begin playing baseball and softball soon.
Briggs, from Wheelersburg, said he started looking into forming the chapter when the Sciotoville and New Boston Little Leagues consolidated and produced the Newville Little League.
"This is just not working out for everyone," Briggs said. "Especially now with gas prices going up, people can't afford to drive to New Boston all the time."
For now, Briggs said the new league plans to use the fields on Rose Street in Sciotoville, where the former Sciotoville Little League teams played.
"The fields need some work but we are getting there," Briggs said. "We still need to build some shelter for some equipment."
Briggs said the new league will be for boys and girls ages 4-18 who live in Scioto County.
"This is for the entire county," he said. "We want to provide baseball and softball to everyone who wants to play."
I can relate to this in some fashion because I organized a travel baseball team a few years ago as well.
The concept of forming a travel baseball team was not negative toward Little League, I just wanted something a little more. I liked the ideas of the travel baseball rules — which are different from Little League.
I had to find a field, raise money, join a league out of Columbus, buy uniforms, schedule games, etc. It was fun, yet hard. When it was all said and done, my team, the Americans had a successful year. I started formulating a team and a budget five months prior to the start of the season.
It was fun.
But what was even more fun was that the teams from Columbus would come to our field, located in the heart of Stockdale. They would look at our field with a smirk and I could tell they thought they were better than we were.
However, we went 18-4 that year at home. So we quickly wiped the smirks off their faces. We just showed them Southern Ohio baseball.
I did the same thing in basketball with the Rangers. We had a lot of fun and brought home some trophies.
So I know what Briggs is going through. I heard the same thing when I tried to provide a little more for kids.
However, I only did it for one team. I can't image what he's going through trying to organize an entire league.
He has a target date of May 14 to begin play.
"That's our plan," he said. "We'd like to start play the first or second week of May."
For anyone who wants to donate or help, checks can be made out to the East Boosters, or they can be sent to: Phil Briggs, 227 Midway Ave., Wheelersburg, Ohio 45694.
Little Leagues is great, and I have all the respect for it. I served on Minford's board for about four years. At the same time, there's nothing wrong with Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Leagues.
All have their place — and it's on the field.