Arlington Memorial High School has made the decision to suspend varsity baseball and softball this year as well as junior varsity baseball.
The decision marks the first time since the 1985-1986 season that the school has not fielded a baseball team. The last time the school did not field a varsity softball team - if that has ever occurred - would have been before the 1985-1986 season, according to AMHS Athletic Director Tim Stewart.
The decision not to have varsity programs for either sport was finalized about a month ago, Stewart said.
The baseball program - which Stewart said might take more than a season to resurface - was temporarily discontinued due to a lack numbers.
"There's just no interest in baseball right now. That's the bottom line," said Stewart. "We do have 12 kids at this point signed up for middle school baseball, which is encouraging, but it could take us two years to get varsity back with the way things are looking right now. Obviously we hope to get it back next year, but time will tell."
The lack of numbers is due in part to the large graduating class the school had last year. Last year there were at least 12 students on the baseball team and approximately two-thirds of those were seniors, Stewart said. This year there were only five students who signed up to play.
Another reason their has been a decline in numbers among the baseball team is that there has been increased interest in other sports such as golf and track and field. This year there are nine students on the golf team and 22 on track and field - increases of five and seven students, respectively, over last season for those programs. In addition there are also the Arlington Soccer Club and AAU in which students participate.
"So people may look at the fact we don't have varsity baseball, but kids are still doing stuff it's just baseball isn't what they chose," said Stewart. "We're a small school. Any time you have multiple offerings for a sport you have the potential for this right here."
Stewart said that he has had discussions with Mount Anthony Union High School Athletic Director Tim Brown about the possibility of Arlington baseball players playing on their team. However, a decision has yet to be reached, Stewart said.
"Basically it depends on their numbers, because we cannot send one of our kids down and displace an MAU athlete," he said.
While numbers were the reason the school does not have a baseball team, Stewart said the decision not to have a varsity softball team was made for a different reason.
"Basically in three years we haven't been competitive. In my opinion we haven't been competitive," said Stewart. "We haven't finished two of the years. We've had to forfeit games, which does not look good for us dealing with other MVL (Marble Valley League) schools when you can't follow through on your schedule and since we weren't competitive it was time to take a different approach."
Stewart continued to say that there were five freshmen and seven sophomores signed up for softball, but only one junior and one senior. In light of that, Stewart said he felt it made sense to play a junior varsity schedule for one season.
The team will play 10 games this season as opposed to the 16 games played at the varsity level.
Despite the elimination of the varsity program this year, Stewart indicated the students remain positive.
"The ones I've talked to seem excited. They're ready to get going [and] we're going to start on Monday. "We're really going to focus on skills and practice time and fielding ground balls and pop flys and getting the basics down and learning the game."
The team will be coached by last year's baseball coaches Eric Green - who was the head coach - and Glenn Sherman.