A local softball league that’s been a refuge for girls age 6 to 18 for nearly a decade is looking a new homefield.
Tim Holt, manager of the non-profit High Tide and Rip Tide Softball club based out of Pismo Beach, said they were saddened and disappointed to be leaving the field adjoining Arroyo Grande’s Hope Church on Oak Park Boulevard.
That’s not least because he and volunteers spent countless hours building up a practice facility for the girls there, not to mention all the materials. And for the last two years things went pretty well.
The church disinvited the club in August, citing liability and legal concerns. Although they do have a liability insurance policy that covered the field, Holt said there were difficulties with one neighbor on the side of the field butting up against a residential neighborhood. While the coaches and teams did their best to accommodate her, he said, the situation may have escalated to legal threats against the church and he doesn’t blame them for wanting to protect themselves.
“Up until last month we thought everything was great,” he said, “I think the whole community was benefiting from our managing the field. We closely monitored how it was being used and worked not to annoy the neighbors. Eventually, you know, if they didn’t like us as neighbors, they’re just going to be stuck with more houses built right there.”
The time for recriminations is over though, Holt said he went to the media, specifically the TV station KSBY originally to seek help in finding a new place.
“We’re definitely not interested in ripping on the church,” he said. “Which I think did happen after that aired, they told us they’d gotten [threatening] messages.
“But what I was hoping was that someone out there has a big open field they don’t use and won’t hurt anything for us to rebuild on.”
A financial advisor for professional athletes by trade, Holt has spent most of his life around baseball and softball. As a father to four daughters and one son, he said he wanted them all to get the same chances in athletics that he had. And he’s spent the last nine years coaching fastpitch softball.
“We’ve got 60 kids taking part this year,” he said, “It’s about helping them achieve and grow. Kids grow up fast. Over the last eight years we’ve had kids leave us and go off to college on softball scholarships.”
For the moment the league’s teams are having practice sessions split between Nipomo High School and Grover Elementary.
Anyone with a location or resources to offer to help get the league back on their own pitch can contact them on Facebook at :www.facebook.com/Central-Coast-Riptide-High-Tide-Fastpitch-118940688129242/
Story and Photos by Camas Frank