From June 27 to July 2, several kids across Newton County will participate in the Newton Christian Youth Softball League (NCYSL) summer softball tournament.
For 25 years, the NCYSL has served the community of several churches, providing youth with the opportunity to play sports in a safe environment.
In 1992, Fred Leavitt helped move the co-ed league to Covington Christian Church (CCC), where it still resides today. There were 93 participants in its inaugural season, divided into two divisions based on age. Today, the NCYSL averages about 250 participants per year — with its highest participation number to date being 370 — and has three divisions based on ages ranging from 4- to 17-years-old, according to Leavitt.
Since its conception, more than 2,300 youth have participated in the NCYSL, with countless kids staying involved for 10 or more years. The league has served Newton County, as well as six other neighboring counties, spanning from Monroe to Jasper County. The leaders have also helped to start a similar league in Rockdale County.
According to Leavitt, maintenance of the league is handled solely by volunteers, from coaches to scorekeepers.
“It is through the efforts of these workers and the support of the parents of the participants that we have thrived,” Leavitt said.
Doug Miller, who coaches Division 3 for eighth grade to 17 years old, the teams practice once a week for an hour during the season and often schedule scrimmages with other teams in preparation for the tournament.
Each game begins with the reading of bible verses that teams are requested to memorize. If the whole team knows the bible verse, they are allowed one extra out during the game to use whenever they choose.
“The main focus of the league is fellowship and the word of God,” Miller said.
To provide an opportunity for anyone interested, the cost of joining the NCYSL remains low and affordable. The cost to join is $30 for the first child, with discounts offered for multiple children. According to Leavitt, no family pays more than $100 to play. Registration opens in March, with seasons running from May to July every summer.
For more information about the NCYSL, visit covingtonchristian.org.