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In Plum, 800 children sign up for baseball, softball

| Sunday, March 18, 2012

A new athletic association in Plum is ready to move forward with baseball and softball for youngsters.

The Plum Baseball & Softball Association, a new nonprofit group, registered about 800 children over the past couple of weekends, according to Jim Gilboy, treasurer for the group, also known as the PBSA.

About 961 children had played for the Plum Borough Athletic Association, or the PBAA, in recent years, said Jim McGrath, the former secretary of the PBAA.

"We are very happy with (the registration numbers)," Gilboy said Monday.

"It's right where we planned for."

Borough council issued a permit to the PBSA to operate the athletic program this year.

The season is expected to begin April 23.

Council members aim to lease the fields to the PBSA, but the PBAA, the group that formerly operated the program, has appealed Plum District Judge Linda Zucco's decision revoking its lease of the eight borough fields on Ross Hollow Road for $1 a year.

Borough officials accused the group's leadership of violating the lease with unauthorized construction of sheds, dugouts and a walking trail at the borough-owned complex.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 29 in Allegheny County Court.

Gilboy was particularly pleased that about 100 children who are first-time players -- 5- and 6-year-olds -- registered to play T-ball.

He said the PBSA planned to conduct a draft in which players are selected for teams.

Also, the group is proceeding with ordering uniforms.

The PBSA hopes to begin baseball and softball practices in early April, Gilboy said.

One sticking point, Gilboy said, is that PBAA officials have not removed all of their items from the complex.

"There is a question on when we will have access to the fields -- when the PBAA is leaving," Gilboy said.

"We don't have access to put equipment in the buildings. We have no place to store items."

PBAA President Bob Schmidt said he had no comment when reached via email last week.

The PBSA also is continuing negotiations with private companies to handle vending-machine and concession-stand sales, Gilboy said.

The PBAA ran the operation internally.

Councilman Michael Dell praised the efforts of the PBSA.

"They started with nothing -- no equipment, no money," Dell said.

"They should be commended for doing what they have done."

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