Play ball! SW Athletics gearing up for another season on the diamond

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

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By Marc Pruitt

With the temperature last Saturday morning hovering in the upper 30s, there wasn’t much reason to believe that baseball and softball season is just around the corner.

But the unmistakable sound of pings coming from aluminum bats, the distinct sound of a ball hitting a leather glove, and words of encouragement from coaches and league officials at Southwest Athletics last Saturday at Wilson Park did, indeed, mark the first steps for their upcoming baseball and softball season.

With the second weekend of player evaluations being held indoors, several members of the Calvary Day baseball team were also on hand to help guide the steady stream of registered players through a series of workouts that included a few swings in the batting cage, fielding ground balls, and even taking a turn throwing to a catcher if the participants wanted to.

Barry Leonard, the president of Southwest Athletics who is entering his 32nd year with the program, said that there were about 400 participants signed up thus far.

“We continue to grow and grow, and it should be another exciting season,” Leonard said. “We are hosting several travel team tournaments this year for baseball and softball. We always have a lot going on during the course of the season.”

And with evaluations wrapping up, the rest of the process is about to get underway.

Players will be selected and assigned to teams. Practices will begin the first week of March, games will begin in late March and go through early June.

Then there are All-Star teams and tournaments, not to mention the Carolina Rockies program as well.

“We’ve gotten a lot of growth the last few years with our Quick Ball program, which replaced Tee Ball for us in 2016,” Leonard said. “Quick Ball is a much more visual way of learning about the game. There are arrows on the field to tell the players which direction they need to be going in. I think it’s just a more fun way to learn how to play the game and we’ve had a really good response with it. We are looking forward to our upcoming season.”

Anyone interested in coaching can contact Kevin McIntosh (baseball) at or Tommy Adams (softball) at