For 22 years, the Kearsley (Mich.) High School Girls Softball Team has been coming to Fort Myers Beach for spring break practices at Bay Oaks Recreational Campus. During that time, the Flint, Mich. softball team has accumulated 13 league championships, 10 district championships, three regional championships, two state semifinals and has been a runner-up to the state championship.
This year's squad includes three players who boast having grandparents who were among those responsible for starting the Beach trip 22 years ago (their aunts were original members of the team). Coach Chuck DeArmond, who is in the Michigan Softball Hall of Fame, was the coach at the time.
Kearsley's current coach, Ron March, is in his fifth year since taking over the helm, but has been on the trip for 12 years. Each trip consists of 24-28 athletes, 16-18 chaperones and their families.
The girls, who raise money for the trips, are undergoing two-a-day practices (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) but cut down to one on Thursday. They are staying at the Tropical Sands Resort.
"The reason we have come been coming back is because the community has embraced us and is so welcoming," one of the girls reported. "Every year we have local residents that stop to watch us practice. There are even some who come back each year."
The Kearsley Softball Team would like to thank Fort Myers Beach for being such a great host.