Summer baseball and softball players may soon have option to play all year

KSHAA is currently in discussions to lift regulations to allow high school baseball and softball players unlimited playing time with their club and tournament teams.


Photo by Tom Gibson

Maize South JV softball team has a group hug with their coach, Katie Evans. The junior varsity team was 14-4 on the season.

Olivia Oenning and Natalie Wood

Competitive sports are an important part of teens’ lives, especially those who play softball and baseball year-round.

How is the line between club and high school seasons drawn for these athletes?

Kansas has had a law in place that during the high school season, players cannot play with their tournament teams. Club coaches across the state are currently fighting this law in hopes to keep their teams together all year long. 

Wichita Vipers Softball coach Melaina Haffley-Saalfeld believes that it would be an overall advantage for club teams to play together all year round.


Junior varsity pitcher Makenna Majors pitches the ball against Eisenhower. Majors pitches for the Kansas Renegades based out of Wichita with MSHS sophomore Kylie Parker.
(Photo by Tom Gibson)

“I think that it would benefit the players that do play travel ball. I think that a four-month break prevents meshing of the team, so for most people who play travel ball, summer ball is their most serious part of the year, season-wise,” said Haffley-Saalfeld. “And so by the time high school ball starts, to the time that it ends, it’s a big four-month chunk where we spend all the way up until high school ball training and developing and trying to get good meshing and communication between the girls, and then boom that break hits and all of a sudden we kind of lose all that progress and have to start over again after high school ball.”

Even though there are coaches that would like high school ball and tournament ball to occur at the same time, there are also club and summer coaches that would prefer the law not to change. Maize South freshman and varsity player Camren Moses think that her club coach wouldn’t allow them to play both club and high school softball. 

“I don’t know, I feel like our coach wouldn’t allow us to play club because like our club coach, he probably wouldn’t let us because a lot of our softball girls play on the same team like we all go to Maize South or Maize and we practice every single day,” said Moses. “I would probably play both because it would probably just be a couple of tournaments on the weekends, we probably wouldn’t practice, it would just be a throw-together thing, but I wouldn’t really want to.”

Freshman Maize South first baseman Brady Sell believes that high school ball and club ball wouldn’t be able to mix due to scheduling conflicts.

“I don’t really think you could play both at the same time because schedule conflicts might happen, so then you’re forced to choose between one or the other, and then if you choose one or the other too much then you might get kicked off of the other team, so I think that it’s better to keep them separate because you get one experience at one time and another experience at another time,” said Sell.

Although there are conflicts on this decision, many are questioning why Kansas hasn’t removed this law already. Some states such as California, Louisiana, and Ohio have removed this law for teen athletes.

Ohio is against this law but with certain restrictions. OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletics Association) says teams may travel out of state to bordering states an unlimited amount of times to play. Still, when traveling to NON-bordering states they can go one time per sport per season to compete provided there is no loss of school time.


In a poll of 20 students at both Maize High and Maize South, 56% agree that the law should removed to allow players to play with club and tournament teams while in a current high school season. (Visual by Olivia Oenning)

Maize South sophomore pitcher Julia Moore doesn’t want Kansas to pass the law for high school softball to run alongside club softball due to worries of burnout during both competitive seasons.

“As much as I would like to play club ball at the same time as school ball, it would just be too exhausting and it would burn me out due to having high school practices every day and sometimes four games a week,” said Moore. “Then going to club ball and practicing twice a week, then having a tournament during the weekend playing up to six games.” 

Haffley-Saalfeld believes that no matter what happens, there’s always going to be something that can upset people, whether it’s schedules or the way the players feel. 

“There’s always gonna be negative to it. Like, okay now you have high school practices and travel practices trying to occur and, I mean other states around us do it like there are some teams down in Oklahoma where you know you’re playing during the week for high school ball and then you go play tournaments on the weekend. But it really just depends upon what people want to do,” said Haffley-Saalfeld.