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The City Journals

Unique format helps South Salt Lake’s recreation softball league explode in popularity

Jul 27, 2017 12:20PM ● By Brian Shaw

Players play softball in a unique format in South Salt Lake’s softball league. (Pixabay)

When the city of South Salt Lake started its summer softball league several summers back it wasn’t a huge success, according to Dustin Permann, the city’s recreation coordinator.

 “We started it a couple of summers ago, and we really wanted to get softball going,” said Permann. “Because we don’t offer a lot of sports for adults or even have a ton of adult programming.”

 At its inception, the interest was lukewarm and the teams that were interested couldn’t field enough players to make a 10-player roster. The best they could do, according to Permann, was play pickup games.

 So, Tony Fabela—the city’s longtime go-to person when it comes to finding ways to make things work, according to Permann—mentioned to Permann two years ago that he’d heard about 5 versus 5 versus 5 softball leagues in smaller communities. Thus, a new format was born.

 “You only need five players on a team,” said Permann, whose department only charges $25 per team to enter the league, which started its third season on June 12. “Five players in the infield, four players in the outfield and a catcher, and then of course you have five players who bat.”

 Permann added that you play the game like a regular softball game. The catch is, there are three parts to an inning. The way the rotation works is that the infield first comes to bat, the batting team then goes to the outfield and the outfield later goes into the infield.

 The infield and outfield work together in a game against the batting team, and so the object of the game is just like regular softball in that the fielding team attempts to get three outs on the batting team to end an inning. Seven innings are played in a game—just like a normal 9-player game.

 The nice thing is that last year we finally got teams signing up,” added Permann, who said that six teams signed up last summer. “This year, we really pushed to get some more teams so we could get more variety.”

 The league has blossomed, growing double its size from last year. At the moment, Permann said 12 teams ranging from city departments to curious residents to school teachers at nearby Granite Park Jr. High are all participating in the league at Central Park which will wrap up on August 23.

 A tournament open to any interested 5-player softball teams is slated to begin on August 26, and just like last year Permann added that trophies will be given to both the league champion with the best record and to the tournament champion.

 Applications are still being accepted for the tournament. Call Dustin at South Salt Lake Recreation at 801-412-3209 for more information.