Recently it was reported on Extra Innings Softball that six newly formed leagues would “align nationally under the direction of former USSSA National Director Jami Lobpries and will be called The Alliance Fastpitch.” Currently, the Alliance consists of the following leagues. The Texas Fastpitch League (TFL), Heart of America Fastpitch League (HFL), California Fastpitch League (CFL), Gulf Coast Fastpitch League (GCFL), Rocky Mountain Fastpitch League (RMFL), and the Southeastern Fastpitch League. If you would like to watch a video call and read the Orginal article, you can find that here.
One of the goals of the Alliance is to bring unity to the game. Common ground is something that most people would agree needs to happen on some level. Another objective is to align these different leagues and create an actual national championship event, possibly similar to that of the WCWS. How it is understood is that events from multiple various organizations will allow teams to earn points. In the end, this can lead to more meaningful competition for teams across the country. Another emphasis will be to bring past and future players together. This week it was also announced that USA Softball would partner with The Alliance Fastpitch to offer national registration for athletes and coaches.
So what does this mean for the game? Why this could have a significant impact is that when multiple organizations (sanctioning bodies) work together, significant improvements across the board can happen. Of course, execution will be critical and the ultimate deciding factor as to whether the Alliance can achieve its goals. Creating a unified national championship format also adds to the overall player experience and adds another layer of competitive and meaningful play. Another benefit may be more opportunity for player development through programs offered through the Alliance.
One thing that we hope to see addressed is being aware that the Alliance does not create an even more significant gap between the haves and have nots. Softball has slowly started becoming a sport that is no longer lower cost and meaningful training, or even teams are becoming out of reach for people economically disadvantaged. This issue is not unique to softball and is a growing problem in youth sports as a whole. As more information comes out, we hope that this area of the sport is addressed on some level.
The Southeast League, which will serve Florida, has been received well. On August 4, 2020, the league was announced again by Extra Innings Softball. The league already has 175 teams signed up from 10U to 18U. The league will consist of teams from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. Teams that are interested in joining the league can fill out this “form.”
Follow us as this story will continue to develop.