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‘Sports bring people together’: North San Juan kicks off summer with Father’s Day softball

Nevada County Adult Sports Association launches Sunday Softball League, gears up for volleyball in Veteran’s Center

The Nevada County Adult Sports Association hosted its inaugural Father’s Day Weekend Softball Tournament this past weekend at the newly restored Oak Tree Community Park Softball Field in North San Juan.

The Oak Valley Acorns, hosted by Willow Creek Camping Ground in Camptonville, played against Sierra Excavation. Rich Ramirez, one of the association and event’s key organizers, said he coached and umpired with many of the tournament’s participants on other fields over the last four decades.
Photos by Rebecca O’Neil

Association organizer Rich Ramirez said he and Lucille Rovnak advertised sign-ups for the event and league on the San Juan Ridge and in Camptonville. Ramirez coaches junior varsity baseball at Nevada Union. So far, the community league has four teams.

Rovnak, a Camptonville resident who teaches yoga on the ridge, helped organize the event. Rovnak said she played on a women’s softball league in the 1980s at the Oak Tree Community Park and was grateful to see the new field and dugouts being used.

“Sports bring people together, but is especially important for the children of the future generation,” Rovnak said.

Lucille Rovnak said local businesses help sponsor the field’s renovation and continue to support the teams that now use those fields. Hansen Bros. donated some of the material used to rehabilitate the field and dugouts. Rich Ramirez also said he received help from Moonshine Lumber, Earth and Road Works Inc., GV Printers, Tony Sandner, C.J. Rist, Brian Jones, Jeff Nye, Jon Simpson, Shawn Olson and Doug Ramirez. Mama’s Pizza brought two big pizzas to the winning team after the event.

Ramirez said NCASA received approval in February to start organizing teams, tournaments and venues from the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. He is looking forward to hosting volleyball tournaments in the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building.

Ridgetop Cafe and Sweetland Sprouts, sponsored by the Sweetland Sprouts Garden Mercantile, duked it out in the second game of Sunday’s tournament. The men’s league allows women players and children with parents’ permission.

Ramirez said the Sunday Softball League will continue hosting games at the Oak Tree Community park until September. Team registration is $600. Even though the softball league is technically for men, women are welcome.

Hannah Lyons, pictured left in American Flag shorts, completes a successful run by passing the “commit line,” put in place to avoid injuries sliding to home base. Rich Ramirez said he coached Lyons in high school softball over a decade ago.

Sandy “Jake” Jacobson of the Recreation Coalition of Nevada County, who helped Ramirez navigate bureaucratic hurdles to facilitating community team sports, said she is grateful for the dedication of people like Ramirez to community wellness and engagement.

“Recreation happens in Nevada County because people take time after their day job,” Jacobsen said.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

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