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Ballpark trip will cure all ills

If you’re ever feeling discouraged about our modern world, with its vicious politics and suffocating social media squabling, do yourself a favor — go to a youth baseball or softball game.

You’ll find local parents not just spending time with their children, but rooting them on and giving them encouragement as they meet challenges on the field of play.

You’ll see small kids who are proud of their older siblings out on the diamond. Those little ones are having a great time at the ballpark, laughing and cheering and enjoying snacks from the concession stand.

You’ll meet an entire army of unpaid volunteers, big-hearted folks who maintain the field, man the concession stand, coach the teams and organize the leagues. All that work for not a dime’s pay.

And you’ll see boys and girls, ranging in age from grade school to middle school to high school, who are out exercising in the sun, working together without arguing and learning about fairness and good sportsmanship. None of them are staring into a cellphone’s tiny screen, slack-jawed and ignoring the world going by. They’re involved, active and having the time of their lives.

If you’d like to venture out to a local ballpark to enjoy good competition, good conversation and good food, this is the perfect month to do so.

Just last week the Elkins Elks Babe Ruth League’s 2017 Fuzz Jones City Tournament was played at Robin Harvey Memorial Field at Bluegrass Park.

Fordland came from the losers bracket and defeated the winners bracket representative Citizens Bank of West Virginia twice Sunday to win the title.

Accepting the championship trophy for Fordland were the team’s coaches, Joey Dickenson, Randy Corder, Billy Knight, Kent Freeman and John Conniff, and the players, Tanner Corder, Nathan Cooper, Will Knight, Opie Dudley, David Freeman, Garrett Silvester, Brandon Rossi, Garrett Conniff, Dalton Jack, Jon Elmore, Matt Shahan and Kaleb Kennard.

Also during the awards ceremony, Fordland’s Nathan Cooper was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

The Most Improved Player award went to Levi Corder and the Best Sportsmanship trophy went to Justin White.

Citizens was honored as the runner-up squad, and Broughton’s Sports was recognized for being the regular season champion.

The stands at Bluegrass Park were packed each day of the tournament, and no one came away feeling let down by the experience.

This week the area hosts the 27th annual Pizza Hut Hillbilly Hardball Classic. The sports extravaganza — one of the biggest sporting events in our region — got underway Thursday at various locations in Randolph, Barbour, Upshur and Harrison counties.

The tournament features 30 teams hailing from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Florida. Games are slated for Robin Harvey Memorial Field, along with Elkins and Tygarts Valley high schools in Randolph County, Alderson Broaddus University in Barbour County, Buckhannon-Upshur High School in Upshur County and Bridgeport High School in Harrison County.

Why not take in one of the games? You’ll have a great time out in the summer air. You may make some new friends, and — with little league and Babe Ruth state tournaments coming up in our area — you might even decide to get involved as a volunteer.

Why not? You’ll never regret spending some spare time helping kids, making your community a better place and having a lot of fun in the process.