By JUSTIN RAINS
The Elkhart Summer Baseball League has a new kind of game on the schedule for 2013.
The league started playing BlastBall for its 3- and 4-year-old players last week, with resounding success.
BlastBall, according to Elkhart Summer League secretary Amanda Westbrook, is a game developed to help teach younger players the basics of baseball.
“BlastBall teaches all of the basic fundamentals of the game of baseball such as, fielding, hitting, catching, throwing and running,” Westbrook said in an email this week. “It accomplishes this in a fun and exciting way, with continuous action and simple to follow rules.”
There are eight to 10 players on a BlastBall team, which is set up just a lot like tee ball.
Just like in tee ball, the offensive player hits the ball and begins to run, while the defensive players attempt to field the ball.
But, there is only one base in BlastBall, positioned where first base normally would be.
When a defensive player fields the ball, he or she yells “blast” to signify the end of the play.
A unique trait of the game is something called the BlastBase, which honks when it is stepped on. If the offensive player can run to the base and have it “honk” before a defensive player can yell “blast” then that counts as a run.
But, if the defensive player either catches the ball in the air or fields the ball and yells “blast” before the offensive player can honk the base, that is an out.
“Parents and players alike are enjoying the addition of BlastBall to Elkhart's summer league program,” Westbrook said.
The game encourages fast-paced action and still develops the skills needed for the players to move on to the higher levels of baseball and softball.
Elkhart is fielding three teams for BlastBall this year: the Lil’ Rugrats, the Rugrats and the Gators.
BlastBall and its players will be featured on Opening Day May 11. Festivities begin at 8 a.m. with a parade, followed by the league’s opening ceremony and a full slate of games for all age groups.
There also will be craft booths, a bounce house, a dunking boot, concessions and more during the day-long event.
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org