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Coaches view girls softball draft as step in right direction

The Brookhaven Recreation Department held its first annualgirls’ softball draft for teams from coach-pitch to 11-12 year oldslast night.

Recreation Department Director Terry Reid said the draft ismuch-needed to keep the talent on the teams more balanced out.

“I’ve had a few negatives from people whose kids have playedtogether for years,” he said. “Most understand, though. This willmake it so you don’t end up with all 8-year-olds on one team andall 7-year-olds on the other.”

Ten and under team coach Mike Milholen said the draft is a goodthing in his opinion.

“It’s the mixture of ages that helps make it fair for every teamout there,” he said.

Reid said the softball draft has actually been a long timecoming to Brookhaven.

“This is one of the few groups left in the state that was stillnot drafting, plus our board finally just voted to do it,” saidReid.

Brannan Craig of Brookhaven, who coaches a 10 and under team, isof the opinion the draft is a move in the right direction.

“This makes it a little more fair for all the teams,” he said.”This should have been done a couple of years back, partly becauseit makes it easier on the coaches too.”

Stephanie Smith has a 10 and under team, and she said she hadmixed feelings on the draft. She said it will be hard to break upsome of the groups who have played together for years.

“I understand why we need to do it, but it’s hard to explain toa 10-year-old you’ve coached for two years why you can’t coach heragain this year,” she said.

Her husband Shannon Smith, who is also coaching the team withStephanie, said he, too, sees both sides of the coach argument.

“It’s a lot easier for some kids to have the same coach yearafter year,” he said. “But with a variety of coaches, you alsolearn different things from the different coaches.”

But the Recreation Department stands behind the draft as thebest way to put together softball teams.

“I think this year we can expect to see a much more levelplaying field, and it will be better for the kids,” said Reid. “Theleague will be stronger, and there will be more competition in theage groups.”

As part of the draft, one rule that prompted some discussionamong coaches was that of having to draft sisters if they are inthe same age bracket. If a child with a sister in her age bracketis drafted, the other sister must be drafted with the next draftpick by the same team.

Shannon Smith pointed out that this helps parents a lot from theconvenience angle.

“Parents have so much to attend already,” he said. “It would betoo much for some people to have to take two sisters to twoseparate games in two separate places, not to mention thepractices.”