Pamplin Media Group – Builds a summer residence for college softball players

Women’s Collegiate Softball League in the planning stage; Summer All-Star Games 2023

Never too long, Ken Wilson is going to bat for another Portland collegiate summer league.

Wilson, former commissioner of the Wood-Bat Summer Baseball League and the original owner of the Portland Pickles, is set to form the Women’s Collegiate Softball League and begin league play at Erv Lind Stadium in North East Portland in the summer of 2023.

A three-day collegiate softball event is coming up this July for fans to enjoy Wilson’s vision.

Wilson, a former play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball and NHL teams, is working to duplicate his success in reviving Walker Stadium when he founded Pickles in 2015.

Wilson moved to Portland in 2008 after a long career calling professional baseball and hockey on radio and TV, and the idea of ​​a softball sprouted in March 2020 when Wilson was thinking about his next project.

When Walker Stadium in Lents Park was seen as a useless resource and attempts were made to make it a Pickles home, Wilson saw and thought about the 500-seat Erv Lind Stadium in Normandale Park in North East Portland. , “Why?”

Increasing the growing popularity of the Women’s College World Series, Wilson realized that a league similar to the summer leagues available to college baseball players was for women.

Wilson is aware of three such leagues operating in 2022: the Carolina Collegiate Softball League, the Florida Gulf Coast League in Bradenton, Florida, and the Sunflower Summer Collegiate Softball League in Wichita, Kansas. He described those leagues as having more fun than he could build in Portland.

Credit Photo: Ken Wilson - An example of a jersey designed for the Portland All-Star Festival collegiate softball games scheduled for July.The Women’s Collegiate Softball League will not start playing until the summer of 2023. But action fans will get a glimpse as the three-day Portland All-Star Softball Festival Festival League, scheduled for July 15-17, kicks off. WCSL presidents Wilson and Bill Hybert are trying to make a list for the event.

When it starts playing in 2023, the plan is to have three teams of 15 players in the WCSL, giving the remaining 45 college-qualified players the opportunity to improve their softball skills and have some fun. About 30 players have expressed interest so far, but Wilson said he hopes to get in touch with more college softball coaches about the project.

All three teams are named Oregon Mist, Portland Poodles and Rose City Raindrops. Each team will play a 28-game schedule for a total of 42 games, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday from mid-June to mid-August.

Wilson said he has a strong interest in the various sponsors who want to partner with women’s sports and family entertainment. Beneficial State Bank is the presentation sponsor of the League. Wilson said Coca-Cola is a sponsor who has logo patches on his uniform. According to Wilson, the other sponsors already lined up are Adventist Health Portland’s Anneuser-Bush from Laurelwood Brew Pub. , Pizza Schmizza, Troutdale Sand & Gravel.

Wilson said a summer collegiate league could fill a void for players outside of ASA / Club softball, who end up in teams under 18.

His biggest challenge is recruiting players. Contacting college softball coaches who benefit players from a summer league has proven difficult.

“Not many people know we’ve there,” Wilson said. “The key factor in getting players is the college coaches. We think over time we will become an elite league, but we have to prove ourselves.”

In fact, Wilson sees no reason why the Women’s Collegiate Softball League should not become a place for elite college players, as Cape Cod League College baseball players do.

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