The Port Allen High school softball program hosted scrimmages at Erwinville Park in a partnership with the Baton Rouge Softball Association to benefit umpires and players.
"You get them ready for the season," said Jerry Toussaint, president of the softball association. "They get out to actually meet the coaches, the kids. You’ll able to go over the new rules, apply the new rules and make sure the safety of the game and making sure we’re keeping the integrity of the game going."
"It’s very important," he added. "Port Allen has a very good group. We thank god for allowing us to be with their administration and their coaching staff. It’s very beneficial because you bring the schools in from all over. It allows Port Allen to let their organization grow and get their name out. It betters the kid because you play more competition to help you."
Eighteen teams participated in the all-day affair.
"This is our first year doing scrimmages," said Port Allen head softball coach Alisha Fairchild. "It's probably the most successful of the Louisiana High School Officials Association (LHSOA) scrimmages that I’ve seen."
In addition to the scrimmage, Port Allen also hosts the Port Allen Lady Pelican Classic Tournament at Erwinville Park.
Fairchild pointed to the successful relationship with the West Baton Rouge Parish Parks and Recreation Department for the ability to host the successful scrimmages, as well as the tournament.
"People from around here reached out to me first when I started being a coach," she recalled. "They wanted to help, they wanted to donate, they wanted to work. My thing is if you’re going to invest in me, we should invest in you."
"Parks and rec invested in fixing nets for cages," she continued. "They started fixing three fields to turn into softball fields, they painted fences and fixed dugouts... They really invested this year after they saw that we wanted to stay here and we wanted to invest in the people that really put forth an effort with us and wanted to help us."
Fairchild said the facility improvements have helped the program recruit more teams for the tournament in March.
Each varsity softball program is allowed two softball scrimmages, but last Saturday's event allowed teams to get an extra game in because it was a training ground for officials.
Port Allen took on Baker Saturday. Score wasn't kept in the game, but Fairchild said she uses the early season scrimmages to get her team reps.
"Use it to get the jitters out," she said. "We have a very green group of girls, very new to the game, but still talented. We’re more worried about getting reps in, getting the jitters out, just working on ourselves in general."