12U All Star Miss Florida Champions. Sign ups are now open for Miss Tampa Bay Softball’s FishHawk division’s fall season which starts after Labor Day. The group fielded two championship winning All Star teams this summer.

Softball enthusiasts from four to 16 years old are invited to sign-up now for Miss Tampa Bay Softball’s (MTBS) FishHawk fall season. No experience necessary.

The group, which holds most of its games and practices at the FishHawk Sports Complex, hosts teams in the Tball, 8U, 10U, 12U and 14/16U age groups with the fall season starting after Labor Day and ending the week before Thanksgiving.

“The fall season is designated as a developmental season where we focus on the fundamentals of the game,” said John Southworth, who recently became president of the MTBS FishHawk division. “The goal is to help our new players learn the game and to help those who have transitioned to a new division adjust to the differences in rules and skills in their new division.”

The teams are coached by volunteers and most of the families live in FishHawk and the surrounding area. Along with softball skills, girls learn sportsmanship and teamwork in a fun and challenging environment.

“Essentially the goal of our league is to teach life skills,” said Southworth. “These girls learn how to overcome making mistakes and striking out. They gain confidence in themselves and learn to make quick decisions on the field of play. The learn that the only thing they can truly control is their effort and attitude. After that, it’s teamwork and overcoming adversity on the field together.”

Southworth, who is retired from the military, joined the group as a volunteer
when his middle daughter expressed an interest in the game. As the division’s new president, he has some lofty goals for the next few seasons, including increasing communication and making capital improvements such as the addition of pitching lanes for pitchers to warm up and practice, soft toss areas for batters to warm up before games and to practice hitting, new backstop netting and eventually new batting cages.

“It’s a big job to run the league and I couldn’t do it without the other volunteers on the board,” said Southworth. “It’s all about making a difference in our community.”

The division also holds a spring season, which is more competitive and starts the last week of January ending with a double elimination tournament to determine league champions in May. Then each division select All Star teams which have two weeks to practice for the Miss Florida All Star Tournament which is held the weekend before Memorial Day.

This year two of the four MTBS-FishHawk teams that participated in the All Star tournament went undefeated and came home champions. For more information, visit www.misstampabaysoftball.com.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.