An empty field of dreams in Wrightsville Beach

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Theresa Swenson - email

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - In Wrightsville Beach, there will be no Fall softball season due to budget cuts.

The familiar sites and sounds of cracking bats and cheers from the bleachers are absent at the field this Labor Day weekend.

The Fall league was called out on strikes this season because of the down economy.  The town had to let go of the person responsible for maintaining the field.

"It's very disappointing to see it not happening again this Fall, says Katie Ryan, Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation.  "I know that there are a lot of folks that have been playing out here for many years, as many as 30 years."

No league this Fall means bad news for one local business.

The Stadium Batting Cages relies heavily on Wrightsville Beach softball players to take their swings at their facility.

"A lot of people come practice before games on the weekend," says Joe Nuccio, owner.  "Besides, the people just coming to practice, you lose bat sales and overall revenue for a small business here in Wilmington."

While little leaguers generate a lot of money for Nuccio, more than 20% of his Fall business in the past has come from beach players.

"Hopefully you can make it up somehow and in someway, but there is not much you can really do about it," says Nuccio.  "You really wish they could continue with all the sports programs."

The City of Wilmington's Softball League, a smaller Fall league, is set to begin next week.

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