Little League Fast-Pitch Softball Comes To Payson

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Little League girls fast-pitch softball has long been a staple on the Valley youth sports scene.

But there never has been a program offered in the Rim Country.

That could all change this spring and summer as a band of parents, including Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman, work to field first-ever teams.

"Having Little League will be great for the girls and the high-school program," Dunman said. "We've have slow pitch here but that doesn't do much to help the girls who want to play in high school or club ball."

First on the agenda is an informational meeting to be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, at Rim Country Middle School.

The meeting is open to all parents who have daughters interested in participating in the new league.

In addition to the informational meeting, a registration will be held for both Little League softball and baseball players.

Other registration periods will be held each Saturday through January in the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium. The sessions begin about 9 a.m. and continue into the late afternoon.

The registration fee is $75 and $70 for each additional player in a family.

Registration may also be completed at Intermountain West Civil Constructors located at 107 N. Tonto Street.

Team tryouts will be held Feb.16 at Rumsey I and the north all-weather field. The times will be announced soon.

Dunman envisions the new league as featuring two age divisions -- 7 to 9 years and 10 to 16 years.

The younger league would feature coach-pitch or machine-pitch play. The older league would be player-pitch.

Dunman, who is volunteering as treasurer of Little League softball, is hoping enough players register to field four teams in each division.

While games would be mostly played in the local division, the possibility also exists that the older team could play out-of-town opponents including Snowflake, Show Low and Blue Ridge.

In addition to the league needing players, there has been a call put out for more volunteers, including coaches.

For more information or to volunteer, call Dunman at (928) 472-2266.

The Irene Schwartzbauer show?

Retired Rim Country Middle School teacher and librarian Irene Schwartzbauer, now a part-time employee of the Roundup, has recently been absorbing a good deal of good-natured teasing.

The ribbing is the result of her recent impromptu appearance on the Eric Byrnes show on FSN television.

Irene, a huge Phoenix Coyotes fan, was cornered by Byrnes, an Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder with a flair for the unusual, during a recent hockey game in Glendale.

Irene claims she was just asking Byrnes for an autograph for her grandson.

But the feature opens with Byrnes artfully snagging a nacho from those she is cradling in her hand.

Byrnes then begins to quiz her on Diamondback baseball trivia.

To her credit, the former teacher answered most of his questions correctly.

Irene calls her television appearance a real thrill, especially for her children and grandchildren.

As fun as the evening was, Irene is now receiving some well-directed barbs from her friends and co-workers. They center on the expansive time she was on the air.

Only days ago, she was asked if that particular TV episode would soon be called "The Irene Schwartzbauer Show" rather than the "Eric Byrnes Show."

Irene only giggled.

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