Westminster council votes to name softball field after Navy Yard victim

The City of Westminster Common Council voted unanimously Monday to support naming a softball field at Jaycee Park in honor of Mike Ridgell.

Ridgell, 52, was one of the dozen people killed at the Navy Yard shooting Sept. 16. A former Maryland State Trooper, Ridgell was a coach with the Westminster Jaycees girls softball team.

The council voted after council member Tony Chiavacci read a letter from Jaycees coach Tom Whitcomb suggesting that the entire park be named after Ridgell.

Council members were concerned about setting a precedent in naming the entire park after Ridgell and agreed to move forward with naming a field in Ridgell's honor.

Whitcomb said in a phone interview Tuesday that although he wished the whole park was named after Ridgell, he was "pretty ecstatic" that council is establishing a memorial for his friend and colleague.

"He loved being up there and coaching the girls," Whitcomb said. "I hope his memory lives on for a long time because of the softball fields."

Ridgell's three daughters have all played for the Jaycees softball program.

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