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Girls softball steps up as summer nears end

July 31, 2014
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier Correspondent , The Town Crier

Plenty has happened in Canfield recently to shape the present and future of that community's softball program.

At a spring school board meeting, consent was officially given to parents of Canfield High School softball players to begin a project to renovate the campus' softball field.

A few weeks later, the Canfield youth 8U softball squad defeated Howland 12-10 to capture the championship of the Austintown community softball tournament.

Since the high school field is need of significant repairs to upgrade its playing surface, fencing, dugouts and public viewing areas, a parent-led organization has taken control. It decided to replace most parts instead of spending more money to repair them.

''We would like to bring our fields up to the standards of other communities,'' said John Manenti, who is one of the parents spearheading this project. ''This field represents the community, the students and the team. It sits in the middle of the campus and is a community resource. We need to raise the bar to have more pride in our school.

According to Canfield varsity head coach Ray Melewski, the last time the field was renovated was in the early 90s. Since that time, many other groups besides the high school softball unit have played on the surface, causing over 20 years of wear and tear.

Two main questions raised by Manenti were if the playing surface is still safe, and if the condition of the field is hurting the teams play. He compared this venue to the depreciation of an aging luxury automobile.

''It has the heart of a Mercedes, but it's a 2001 Mercedes,'' Manenti said.

To drive this project to the destination they want it to go, Melewski, Manenti and third committee leader Darla Troxil will need the aid of the Canfield community.

Donations are being accepted and are tax deductible. These monies will strictly go to this renovation and not to any other funding of the Canfield softball team. It is a separate cause than that of the Canfield Softball Boosters, who use their fund raising efforts on things such as road trips for the varsity girls during the season.

A donor agreement must be filled out in conjunction with the donation to prove that the money is being used for this cause only. That form, as well as the address to send donations, old and new pictures of the softball field, more information and contact info for Melewski, Manenti and Troxil, can be found on the website

The organization's goal is to have enough funds created to break ground on the project by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

No matter when this rebuilding begins, it will be ready by the time the group of 8-and-under girls reach high school.

The huge win over Howland in mid-July was the first tournament championship for any Canfield softball team in that age group. This band of softball sluggers was put together at the end of the spring softball season and was made up of youngsters from Canfield's softball recreation teams.

These now champions are Emma Campbell, Malena Toth, Carlie Harmon, Taylor Morrison, Haydyn Merritt, Camryn Hritz, Abby Muckleroy, Faith Morell, Gianna Pannunzio, Cara Spencer and Macey Kalina. Their coaches were Lisa Campbell, Christine Kennedy, Eric Kalina, Kevin Toth, Matt Campbell and Mike Hritz.



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