Softball organization hopes fundraiser provides drier future

Photo Kristin Schultz
Niskayuna Softball president Becky Mason and fundraising coordinator Sarah Bilofksy are teaming up with Great Flats Brewing co-owner Harry Whalen for a fundraiser to better maintain the ball fields.Photo Kristin Schultz Niskayuna Softball president Becky Mason and fundraising coordinator Sarah Bilofksy are teaming up with Great Flats Brewing co-owner Harry Whalen for a fundraiser to better maintain the ball fields.

By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA — The only things that should be filled with liquid are the brew tanks at Great Flats Brewing. Earlier this year, however, waterlogged softball fields affected the Niskayuna Girls Softball recreation and travel teams’ seasons.

To prevent having games drowned out in future seasons, the softball organization is hosting a fundraiser, “Raise a Glass to Drain Our Fields,” at Great Flats Brewing (151 Lafayette St., Schenectady) on Nov. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. Organizers hope to raise enough money to purchase drainage equipment for the fields.

The fields at the town’s River Road Park are built on clay soil, and when spring rains came fast and furious, the soil prevented drainage and the diamonds were submerged. The teams had to cancel many games and reschedule others.

Becky Mason, president of Niskayuna Girls Softball, said the program has been growing in recent years and it’s important to keep the momentum going.

“There is a lot of excitement to build the program,” Mason said.

In the spring season, 160 girls, in kindergarten through eighth grade, played in the recreational league, and another 72 played on six select travel teams.

Mason said the league is accessible to girls of any age, and she encourages seasoned players and girls who just want to try playing to sign up. She and recreational coordinator Bonnie Teti have been working together for four years to build the program. Recently, the travel teams came under the organization’s umbrella as well.

Mason, who is also personal trainer, said the program’s focus is on having fun and improving skills.

“It’s not an easy sport,” Mason said. “You see them getting better over the years. We focus on what the body can do, not what it looks like. It’s that mind shift I want to see in the girls.”

Fundraising coordinator Sarah Bilofsky grew up playing softball, so it felt natural to sign up her own girls.

“They’re happy to be together and part of the team,” Bilofsky said. “It’s a healthy program that’s growing in the right direction.”

To keep the growth on track, Niskayuna Girls Softball needs fields it can count on being able to use. Through the fundraiser at Great Flats Brewing, Mason, Bilofsky and the leadership hope to collect enough money to purchase drain lines, tarps and other water remediation equipment.

Tickets are $20 and include one free beer. A portion of sales from the evening will also benefit the girls. For information, see the league’s Facebook page, Niskayuna Softball, or its website, http://niskyrectravel.website.siplay.com/.