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Elm Park is thriving with tournaments, games

SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO South Williamsport players react during a game in last years Elm Park Town League as fans watch. Last year, Elm Park hosted more than 850 games and didn’t have a single case of COVID-19 traced to the complex. The complex will host the District 4 softball semifinals and finals this year.

There was definitely disappointment when the District 4 playoffs left Elm Park a few years ago. When Muncy coach Joe Tedesco helped start the Lycoming County Softball Association, one thing he was hoping was that those district playoffs would eventually come back.

Tedesco, the organization’s president, and Don Noviello, former Williamsport city councilman and the organization’s vice president, have worked hard over the past year to get Elm Park back to what it once was.

And this year the organization got the news that those district playoff would be returning.

“To get that back is absolutely amazing,” Tedesco said. “They lost it years ago and now it’s coming back.”

Elm Park will host this year’s District 4 semifinals and championships for Classes A, AA, AAAA and 6A. Class AAA will still be played at the Moser Complex in Turbotville. The Lycoming County Softball Association revamped the fields at Elm Park, including putting fences at 220 feet for softball.

The Lycoming County Softball Association is also hoping to be able to host state playoff games at Elm Park.

The complex hosted numerous softball tournaments last spring and played more than 850 games at the park, which provided an economic boost through having 4,500 hotel rooms booked in the area. Those 850 games also included the Elm Park Town League, which helped players last year compete one last time with their teammates after numerous seniors had their final season taken away due to the PIAA canceling all spring athletics.

Tedesco noted that the Elm Park Town League will continue again this year after the success from 2020.

“They were so happy to be able to play and relieved to get out,” Tedesco said. “I’m so glad we got to do that because my girls couldn’t play (high school softball). We had all the high school girls over here, from Wellsboro to Towanda. There were tons of them.

“There were three fields filled every Wednesday, so that was really nice for the summer.”

The biggest obstacle last year was COVID-19 and preventing the mitigation of it through various measures, which the Lycoming County Softball Association had success with. There were no cases last year of COVID-19 and no reports of COVID-19 tracing at Elm Park.

“We did everything we were supposed to do to keep things on the up and up,” Noviello said.

This year, in addition to the Elm Park Town League returning for a second season, the Lycoming County Softball Association is already planning for numerous tournaments throughout the summer. The complex has two tournaments planned for May, and then at least one tournament every weekend until the third weekend in August.

“Lots and lots and lots of softball,” Tedesco said.

Tedesco’s day revolves around softball anymore. From getting at Elm Park around 8 a.m. until noon, getting lunch, then heading to Muncy for practices and games with his varsity softball team before returning to Elm Park in the evening.

“It’s something I like, I’m not complaining. It keeps me busy for sure,” Tedesco said.

Elm Park also will be home to the Keystone Girls Softball League this year, and will have numerous other ASA teams playing, including teams from New York.

“We’re never short of games here,” Noviello said.

Currently, the Lycoming County Softball Association is planning to do things in two phases at Elm Park. The first phase is getting the fields into optimal condition.

The second phase is to put in a handicap/special needs field on the complex.

“It’s an abbreviated field (we want to put in). Not like one of these ones, but much more detailed with ADA stuff,” Noviello noted.

While Elm Park is obviously a softball complex, Noviello and Tedesco are thinking of a bigger picture. Last year, Elm Park hosted a successful flea market, something they want to do again in 2021 with some live entertainment. There’s also a spook show by Jon Eroh planned in October called “Nightmare at Elm Park.” A potential boxing exhibition being set up at Elm Park is also being discussed.

“Things to draw more people in here,” Noviello said. “We have almost seven acres here. We can do so much more stuff that has more to do with softball to bring people in here.”

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