GREENVILLE – The Greenville Girls Softball Association (GGSA) held its 49th Annual GGSA Opening Day under sunny skies at Stebbins field, Home of Lady Wave Softball.
GGSA president, Eric Fellers greeted players and fans to the annual event. Ryan Gathard opened with prayer and American Legion Post 140 presented the colors for the singing and playing of the National Anthem.
“Without you, the player, parent, coach, officer and supporters, this organization would not be as strong as it is today,” said Fellers. “The Stebbins Field Complex and Lady Wave Stadium is a great example of what a community can do when the goals become very clear and the people with those goals come together to make those goals become reality.”
“It has taken 49 years and many thousands of people selling fundraisers, running the concession stand, coaching bases and dedication many thankless hours of their time behind the scenes to give the young ladies of Greenville and beyond a positive softball experience.”
“GGSA opened diamonds No. 5 and No. 6 last year made possible by the Mike Thieme Trust, the Hole-Coppock Trust and with the help of many local individuals, businesses and local fundraising efforts.”
“Through their continued support we are proud to announce we are in the process of purchasing six new sets of bleachers for the new diamonds,” Fellers added. “You will see those bleachers pop-up within the next month or so.”
Fellers introduced Hall of Fame Lady Wave Softball coach, Jerrod Newland to the attending players and crowd.
“Greenville is a great place for softball – what a great thing today,” said Coach Newland. “I use to say it was the best kept secret in the community but it’s no secret. It’s amazing what is going on out here, what we are building and what we are doing. Hats off to all GGSA the volunteers, Eric (Fellers), Shawn (Shaffer), Mr. Christman and everybody working hard – all for the love of the game and the future of the kids.”
“Look at this place. It started with 20 acres, now it’s up to 30 and probably going more – more fields, more kids playing. Good people surround themselves with like-minded goals. Our goal around here is to get Greenville kids playing softball, having them enjoy it and make Greenville something to be proud of.”
“I am very proud of the kids and proud of the families,” Coach Newland concluded. “Kids make sure you tell mom and dad you love them, mom and dad don’t yell at the kids. You can coach them at home when they get there. Play hard, have fun and go Wave.”
To his surprise, Denny Ruble was invited to throw out the “first pitch” to kick-off the GGSA season.
Coach Ruble is a member of the Lady Wave High School Softball coaching staff and has been a large contributor of the Lady Wave Softball program for many years.
“Denny is a great representative of what Greenville Softball is,” Fellers stated. “He isn’t just a coach, he is a volunteer, he is a donor and a great friend of GGSA. He was a GGSA board member for many years and was a big part of the move from Ohio Street.”
“Look around at this ballpark,” Fellers added. “Without Denny and guys like Denny we would not be enjoying this great facility as we are today. To this day, Denny is a go-to when we need to know something about the ballpark or the stadium.”