Reunion is Saturday for Miss Softball America youth league

WILLIAMSBURG—A few former players have organized an Aug. 16 reunion for anyone who was affiliated with the Miss Softball America softball league in Williamsburg.

The event is Aug. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Quarter Park. Attendees are asked to bring lunches, drinks and chairs.

The time frame for the nationally affiliated fast pitch softball league is murky. But reunion organizer Kelly Mihalcoe said the local organization started in 1973 and she played in it from elementary school until the summer before her senior year of high school in 1979-80.

Good memories, plus a conversation with one of the league's local leaders, prompted Mihalcoe to organize a reunion 40 years later. She has used a Facebook page and word of mouth to try to get the word out.

Recreational softball was played at Bruton Heights School as children produced good memories of supportive adults, sportsmanship and friendships from those days, she said.

"It was one of the first integrated girls sports in Williamsburg," said Mihalcoe, who still lives here. "It really brought the two communities together and built a lot of family bonds that have lasted through the years."

Various age groups played in major, minor and mini-minor leagues. The local team won state championships several times and finished third in the nation one year, Mihalcoe said.

Her mother, Inez, served as the first vice president of the local league and later as its Virginia commissioner. Jean Wynn-Joyner was an original organizer of the local league. Wynn-Joyner told Mihalcoe in the past few years that she wanted to get everybody together for a reunion, but passed away before it could happen, Mihalcoe said.

Wynn-Joyner's daughter, Williamsburg resident Hope Wynn Carter, played in the softball league and has been spreading the word about the reunion. Carter said she played for at least six years in the 1970s starting at age 9 or 10.

"It was an integrated team, and the first time many of us had mixed with other races for sure, after that rough time," Carter said. "It was life-changing for all involved I think, because we played together for so long for so many years."

Williamsburg resident Robin Bailey Ward, whose late father Bob Bailey coached and was very involved for years, has helped organize the gathering. Ward said she started probably around age 7 and played until 7th grade when she started playing middle school softball.

"There's a lot of friendships that have stayed together over the years," Ward said. "I remember our lovely uniforms that were made for girls—little culottes. We were red."

She also recalled coaches, and the lessons they shared.

"A lot of good practice ethics were learned in that league, sportsmanship of course," Ward said. "That was all important. And things I've carried with me into my adult life outside of softball."

Most of the former players are in their 40s to upwards of 58 years old or so now, Mihalcoe said.

Reunion plans include corn hole, and she has rented out a pavilion as well as a baseball field if anybody wants to pitch and catch.

"They can play," Mihalcoe said, laughing. "But for me, it's now a five-step process to pick it up and throw it anymore."

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-247-4644.

Softball reunion

Former players and coaches, as well as families and supporters, of the Williamsburg area Miss Softball America league will hold a reunion Aug. 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Quarter Park Pavilion No. 1, 1000 Lakeshead Drive, Williamsburg. Attendees are asked to bring their own lunches, drinks and chairs.