From playgrounds to ballparks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 7, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

How many people would let a nine-year-old run their concession stand? Walter Martin is one who did. The child that served as head-cook and bottle-washer at Edgewood Park went on to become the person in charge of Selma’s youth softball program.

Mott has been working off and on with Selma’s Recreation Department for the better part of 25 years. The Selma native grew up in a very athletic family, both of her brothers played baseball so it was natural for Beth to be athletic, that she was playing softball and basketball throughout her primary school days and then going to Wallace Community College in Selma on a baseball scholarship to serve as the bookkeeper for the baseball team.

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In 1991 Elton Reece Executive Director of Selma’s Recreation Department put Mott in complete control of the softball program.

She’s part of an athletic family that cares for the youth, that’s why she does it. I dread the day when she says that she’s going to hang it up. She has made softball what it is today in the city of Selma.&uot;

The softball program, had changed from its humble, playground beginnings.

According to Mott, when she was younger many of the playgrounds would have green boxes that held all of the equipment. Most of the games were played in the mornings.

When Mott took the helm of the softball program, there were around 250 girls involved. Now, that number has swelled to around 800. While constant growth can bring headaches and frustrations, Mott is still having fun.

Mott’s brother Britt is one of the league presidents during the Selma Recreation Department’s summer baseball season.

While the league has grown under Mott’s watch, the game itself has also changed. Currently Selma is one of the few leagues left in the state of Alabama to play slow pitch softball. But there is a movement to lower the fastpitch age group. Right now Selma offers true fastpitch in the 13-through-18-year-old age group, comprised mainly of high school players.

On top of running the softball program, Mott also has a real job. She is the assistant manager at the Medicaid Office.

Despite the tough schedule, Mott is still happy with the way things have gone in the softball program. She does get humbled and reminded of how long she has been doing this when she sees one of the kids that she coached coaching their own child in the softball program.