Just a few weeks after Howard County’s high school senior baseball players were honored during a special send off in mid-July, similar showcase events have now been scheduled for the county’s lacrosse and softball players.
A senior softball game for recently graduated Howard County players is slated to be held at Kiwanis-Walls park in Ellicott City on Aug. 4, while the boys and girls lacrosse seniors from Howard County will be recognized and participate in activities two days later at Troy Park in Elkridge on Aug. 6.
The Howard County Youth Program is running the administrative side of things for softball and Howard County Recreation and Parks is handling registration for lacrosse.
The success of baseball’s “Senior Sendoff”, which took place over three days at Blandair Park in Columbia from July 13-15, ultimately got the ball rolling for the other sports to follow suit. Community Sports Manager for recreation and parks Brian Wyman, who also coaches varsity baseball at Long Reach, was instrumental in getting things off the ground for the baseball seniors and has since made it a priority to do the same for the county’s other athletes.
“As we got closer to the baseball event and realized just how special things were shaping up to be, we thought it only right to begin reaching out to the other groups to get something similar together for the other sports. After the baseball event we received great feedback, and continued to push forward,” Wyman said. “All of these recent graduates deserve a sendoff, and we are happy to be a part of this effort to provide them one last opportunity to share the field with their teammates and coaches.”
Howard High varsity softball coach Chuck Rice, who has been among those spearheading the charge to get something going for the softball seniors, said Wyman’s guidance has been invaluable.
“Even though we aren’t hosting it through recreation and parks, the conversation I had initially with Brian on the phone helped tremendously in terms of knowing what we needed to do and what we couldn’t do,” Rice said. “There are a lot of little things that you just don’t know or think about when trying to make this happen, so having that first-hand knowledge was huge. It’s allowed us to get this together very quickly.”
Rice was also quick to point out the important role Heather Costigan has played in the process, as she serves as a board member in the HCYP organization and has taken the lead in securing a field, handling player registration and helping get coaches certified as HCYP volunteers.
Additionally, HCYP has taken on all costs associated with the event, meaning there is no registration fee for the participating softball players. Comparatively, the multi-day baseball event at Blandair cost each participant $49.
The softball game itself is scheduled for a first pitch of 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4 on Field 7 at Kiwanis-Walls Park. Right now there are 19 confirmed participants, representing seven of the Howard County’s 12 public schools.
One team will feature players from Atholton, Howard, Glenelg, Mt. Hebron, Reservoir and Wilde Lake. The other squad will be made up of recently graduated seniors from Centennial, Hammond, Long Reach, Marriotts Ridge, Oakland Mills and River Hill.
Interested players, not already signed up, can register all the way up until 24 hours before the event.
“I’m excited for the girls and hopefully it does give them a little closure,” Rice said. “I know several were at the boys games a couple weeks ago thinking, “Hey, why aren’t we getting this same opportunity?” So yes, I’m very happy everything is coming together like it is.”
The combined lacrosse event has a similar sentiment but will have a slightly different feel., The festivities are scheduled to kick off at 6:15 p.m. with a senior ceremony and then the competition component will follow at 7 p.m. As of now, however, Wyman says there may not be actual games played.
“While we are still taking registration, several schools only had a small handful of seniors. It is making an actual game less likely,” he said. “We are exploring an evening of skills competitions with prizes. Kids will still get shirts and be honored appropriately prior to the evening of fun.”
Just like the other events, each lacrosse participant is required to register through recreation and parks and all coaches involved must become a certified volunteer. Any seniors interested in participating but who have not registered are encouraged to do so by calling 410-313-4706 or emailing email@example.com.