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Every small town had one when I was growing up. A Little League team and a town ball team, either baseball or softball.

My little hometown was about, oh, 250 people or so. We had a Little League team, which by the way, provides me with some of the warmest memories from my childhood. Each week in the summer we would do battle with the other small towns in the area. For 'away' games, Mom's would drive us by car the 10 miles or so and we would take the field. Home games meant the stands would be full (OK, maybe half full) with cheering fans.

And that same little town (like the others in the area) had a 'town' team. For our area it was fast-pitch softball. Local farmers and the local small business owners would get together one night a week for the game. As a kid, I so looked forward to going to our ball field, getting a bag of popcorn and soda from the small concession stand, meet a few friends and watch the game.

Most of those teams and games are gone now, living only in the memories of those of us who were there. Many of the small town teams are no more, perhaps not enough people in the area to field the teams, or no time for it.

So it was with some sadness that I read in the Mitchell Daily Republic that Delmont is dissolving a 70 year old baseball program. Apparently there has been a gradual downturn in participation, which I guess over the years and decades has happened to many rural areas, including the one I grew up in. The local independent team has been unable to field a team for the past couple years, and the little league program has been absent for many years. Folks there aren't sure yet what will become of the field, those decisions will be made later.

I'll bet there are people in the Delmont area (and those who've moved away) that have warm memories of an afternoon or evening at the ballpark there, just like I do those many years ago. And, thankfully, those will never be dissolved.

The Mitchell Daily Republic Contributed To This Article

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