Men's softball isn't that new in South Australia.
Did you know that we had our first Men's State team in the mid 1980's.... for those with the memories, it was an honoured time when mainly military teams would venture down from Woomera to play in the State Championships. The first team was Coached by Alan Oldfather (Senior), and son Alan Oldfather junior played. So did the likes of Jim Szpunar and Richard Coombe. We are currently doing some digging to locate all players from the initial team to record the history.
Mind you, it wasn't broadly recognised until 1988, when the first State Team played in Canberra in the Australian National Championships. A raw group of players, whose claim to fame that trip, was defeating WA, who hadn't been defeated in a number of years.
SA had two grades (A & B) competing at West Beach for quite some time through the 80's and 90's.... and it was well supported - with Friday nights running into the wee hours, with the Kiwi team "Allsorts" responsible for many a late night singalong in the bar. West Torrens, Glenelg and Southern Districts took mens teams under their club structure, and a few independent teams supplemented the competition - including Flinders Uni and Cubs. However, the demise came, and the sport disappeared from West Beach for a number of years at the turn of the century.
Roll on 2004, and the first attempts to get a competition up and running, saw an Adelaide League play on Friday nights, and a State League play one weekend a month. The early years of these competitions, saw Rebels as the leading club - comprising a large number of state players - they competed in the Canberra Skins, and the Blacktown Invitational, in an endeavour to see some top competition.
Over the years, Softball SA has had representation in Australian Nationals - with limited success. All teams have included interstate pickup players, and on some occasions, coaching or support staff. Sadly, teams have been withdrawn due to lack of players willing (or able) to participate.
2006 saw the formal establishment of Men's Fastpitch SA Incorporated, and (finally) allowed to affiliate with Softball SA. It is fair to say, that the endeavours to affiliate with the state association were met with concern that the group was trying to take over softball.
The constitution of the Association is clear.... the objectives are stated that the Association has a focus on bringing Men's Fastpitch softball to the public, and developing competition to be run under the affiliation of Softball South Australia.
The Association is small, but keen. 2014 saw a new structure form. The years of the monopoly of the premierships by Rebels was over, as the players determined it was time to split the players amongst four newly named teams, spread the skillset, and endeavour to build the competition again. Batteries were identified, coaches allocated, and a draft structure of all interested players implemented. It was an exciting time.
Roll forward to today.... and the new challenge is to get juniors up and running. Maybe you'd like to be involved in this initiative - then contact one of the management team and we can set you to work.