By Austin Groshong
The Silex R-1 school district is discussing the possibility of starting a fall baseball program.
At the monthly board of education meeting, Athletic Director Kent Hufty and Superintendent David Deets presented to the board the possibility to starting the program to give student athletes time to compete at school.
“We have a lot of kids that once there are juveniles there is not a juvenile team for them to play,” said Hufty. “Once they are above juvenile there is no place for them to play, unless they pay somebody a whole lot of money to play, or they pay a lesser amount of money to play legion ball, if they can make the team. So we have a bunch of kids that the only time they pick-up a bat is during the spring season.”
Silex currently has soccer and cross country for male athletes, but participation in both sports has been low. Hufty said that a fall program would give student athletes time to compete in the gap between spring baseball and basketball.
“We have to have a cross country team regardless to remain in the EMO conference,” continued Hufty. “But we have a whole lot of kids that are sitting around doing nothing.”
Hufty says that his goal for the program is to play six to 10 games, paying on day a week on Friday or Saturday.
“The idea behind the six to 10 games is that if we played six games and played one a week, it would be a good start,” said Hufty. “There is no guarantee that I can find six games, cause I got to find six people that want to play. The 10 game piece is if I get into some tournaments that are on the weekends.”
Hufty said that leave times would be no different than usual with 5 p.m. Start times for the games. Hufty said that besides the cost of transportation, other costs would remain the same.
“Baseballs aren’t that expensive and lights aren’t that expensive,” he said.
Hufty says that roughly about 17 students would be interested in playing if a program was implemented.
“I tried to make it clear to them that I wanted their honest commitment and that just because I am carrying the paper here doesn’t mean that you are automatically signed up,” he said.
The 17 students included freshmen sophomore and junior players only.
When ask how long he planned on being with the school district Hufty said that he was looking long term as long as health permits.
“I’m havn’t had this much fun in a long time,” said Hufty.
Hufty continued that the athletic department should always strive to back their athletes.
“Our kids are starting to think of themselves as baseball players,” he said. “So while we have them thinking that, we need to take advantage of that so that it continues on.”
A retired teacher and administrator, Hufty is permitted to work a maximum 550 hours for the school district. Board President Tommy Kreuger said that he would like to see how the new program would effect his hours.
“I think I need to know the answer to that before we make a decision,” he said.
The board will continue discussion at the next board meeting. Hufty said that if approved the program would not be a conference activity.