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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hudson Selectmen swap Babe Ruth baseball for sought-after lacrosse program

HUDSON – This spring, Hudson youth will be able to trade in their baseball gloves for lacrosse sticks.

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved a new lacrosse program, which will be run through the town’s Recreation Department. The program replaces the floundering Babe Ruth baseball league, which has seen a decrease of revenue and interest over the past few years. ...

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HUDSON – This spring, Hudson youth will be able to trade in their baseball gloves for lacrosse sticks.

The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved a new lacrosse program, which will be run through the town’s Recreation Department. The program replaces the floundering Babe Ruth baseball league, which has seen a decrease of revenue and interest over the past few years.

Recreation Director Dave Yates came before the board at a recent budget meeting to ask for this trade for 2014, saying there’s a lot of interest from the community for Hudson to have its own lacrosse program. Youth who play the sport – hovering around 90 total – are enrolled in programs in Nashua, Litchfield and Londonderry. For several years, residents have approached Yates about starting a lacrosse program in town, he said.

Since Yates made the request at the meeting, even more people have come forward expressing the desire for their children to play lacrosse in Hudson. The program had been included in fiscal 2014, but area youth wouldn’t be able to play until spring 2015.

“People would say, ‘Are we going to do lacrosse?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but it won’t be until next year.’ That’s when I started looking at it and said, ‘Geez, maybe we could do it this year if we don’t do Babe Ruth.’ However, the budget is for Babe Ruth,” Yates said.

Yates called Selectmen Chairman Roger Coutu before the meeting and asked about switching out the programs.

The Babe Ruth program cost $13,057 to run and brought in just $4,130 in revenue, Coutu said at the meeting. Coutu revisited the idea with the board because the Litchfield Babe Ruth sign-ups began Saturday .

“There is in fact an interest in the Babe Ruth, and it became an expensive proposition for us. It would be better for these kids too, in order to be able to play ball, to be absorbed by another baseball affiliate locally,” he said. “I think it was cost-prohibitive because we didn’t have the number of players we originally thought we were going to get.”

Yates estimated that it would take $12,516 to fund the lacrosse program. This includes a higher price tag in the first year for some startup costs. Selectman Ted Luszey pointed out that there will be no impact on the budget as a result of this switch.

“We’re gearing up to do it in the spring next year,” Yates said about 2013. He added that indoor training would begin sometime in February, with a season running April-June.

The recreation director projected that with the people who want to participate thus far, the program would take in $8,000 in revenue. Startup costs totaling roughly $4,000 include purchasing practice sticks, goals, field markers and balls.

The registration for the lacrosse program has been set at $100 per participant and will begin sometime in January, Yates said. Amy King, whose son played the sport in Litchfield, has stepped forth and volunteered to help Yates run the program this spring. Yates believes he has enough players to make up four teams, with 20 kids per team.

Yates believes numbers in the program will grow.

“I anticipate getting even more kids from people who didn’t want to travel out of town to play. They probably didn’t even show any interest,” he said.

Information about the lacrosse program and sign-ups will be posted on the Recreation Department’s website, www.hudsonrec.com.

Erin Place can be reached at 594-6589 or eplace@nashuatelegraph.com.