National News

Softball players at odds with county over contract

Posted May 7, 2018 8:35 p.m. EDT

— Softball players feel they are the victims of a squeeze play.

They have put in a lot of sweat equity and money toward the diamonds at Veteran's Memorial Park in Bay City, but they say the county wants them to sign a contract with a clause that undermines their hard work.

"We're being asked to sign it before we can go on and actually play softball down here," said Craig Kokaly, softball player.

Kokaly has been a member of the Bay Softball Association for decades. The organization is at odds with Bay County administrators over language in a proposed contract.

"We just want to have a safeguard for the monies that they have invested over the years," Kokaly said.

Kokaly said the sticking point is a clause in the contract that would allow the county to take the ball fields away from the softball association with 180 days' notice. The association refused to sign the contract.

Now, the county has stopped maintaining the fields, which puts the start of softball season in jeopardy.

"To have them kind of throw us around with this contract kind of really sucks," said Shaun Scheidler, president of the softball association.

Scheidler said they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fields over the years. He wants the county to guarantee in writing that if they are kicked off the fields they will be compensated for the money they invested.

As for Kokaly, he hopes an agreement can be made to ensure softball will stay at Vet's Park.

"I'm at the end of my career. I do it for fun like anybody else down here. But I want my kids to be able to play down here for years. I want their kids to be able to play down here for years. And I want all these young adults to be able to play down here now," Kokaly said.

Shortly after TV5's story aired, we received a call from Bay County saying it's the city's contract. A spokesperson for the county said under the agreement the county does contracted work at the softball association's request, but it can't continue work on the diamonds because there is no contract between the city and the association.

The county said when a contract is agreed upon, the fields will be mowed again.

This raises questions as to who is truly responsible. We will keep you updated when this gets ironed out.