CC Park Dept. gears up for 2012 softball season

COLUMBIA CITY — It’s the end of January, but Keith Nickolson is ready for softball season.“I’m dreaming of the sound of the crack of the bats and the smell of the dirt,” said Nickolson.He and the other Columbia City Parks Department Girls Softball board are gearing up for 4,000 people to be at Morsches Park on opening day, May 5.Though it may seem like a long way away, registration begins Feb. 1 and runs through March 17.The age changes for Minors and Majors is to up the field of play and help the girls understand the game better in each league before they move up to the next level.Minors are nine to 11-years-old. A girls must be nine-years-old by Dec. 31, 2011. Majors are 12 to 14-years-old. Girls must be 12 by Dec. 31, 2011 and no older than 14 by Dec. 31, 2011.Registration is from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Morsches Park office. Parents can register girls on Saturdays on Feb. 25, March 3 and March 17 at the enclosed Park Pavilion. Saturday hours are from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. on March 3 and 17.The cost is $80 for the season for softball. T-ball and Lob ball is for ages 5-8 and the cost is $40. The instructional league is a program that starts the basic fundamentals of baseball and softball. This program is offered to children age 4 and costs $20.A $25 late fee will apply for all who register after March 17.Opening Day is May 5 and begins at 10 a.m. with a parade of all teams at the Quad at Morsche’s Park.