Hen Hud, Lakeland Girls Catch Softball Fever As Cortlandt League Flourishes

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The Cortlandt Softball Little League has seen membership increase since it began in 2010. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Joe Kopfensteiner

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Softball is becoming the game of choice for Cortlandt girls.

A new softball league, Cortlandt Softball Little League, has taken off in the Town of Cortlandt. The league is holding registration for the league through Feb. 16.

"We are growing with enrollment," Fred Guida, president of the league, said. "We are growing while other sports are declining."

The league serves the Hendrick Hudson, Putnam Valley and Lakeland school districts and allows for fast-pitch softball.

"We took over the existing league and expanded it," league secretary Joe Kopfensteiner said. "This allows them to play a significant travel schedule and an extensive regular season. It's a better program than before."

The league has grown from 161 to 182 girls, which organizers say is impressive when there are so many more choices for girls to play.

"If we just kept our numbers flat, we'd be doing very well," Guida said.

Kopfensteiner said girls enjoy the camaraderie of a team and getting to make new friends.

"They learn about sportsmanship and respecting their opponent," Kopfensteiner said. "We stress life lessons, so the kids get more out of it than winning or losing. They get exercise and they get to run around rather than playing video games."

The sport has taken off so much that clinics in the offseason end up easily meeting their maximum number of kids.

"This is a grassroots program," Kopfensteiner said. "It allows the girls to be more advanced when they get to high school. They know the fundamentals already."

Guida said as a recreational league, they give everyone a chance to play.

"We want the girls to enjoy coming to practice and playing the games," Guida said. "We want them to enjoy the experience.

Kopfensteiner said it is very rewarding watching kids learn and excel at the game.

"You see them smiling," Kopfensteiner said. "They have fun. We want them to participate."

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