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Baseball and softball Opening Night set for Thursday

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Putnam Recreation Department to launch new season at 5:30 p.m.

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    No one is happier than Recreation Department Director Scott Haley to have his facilities open and ready for the new season of baseball and softball that starts Thursday night with opening night festivities. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    This young lady gets some tutelage on the finer points of pitching a softball during a recent practice at the Putnam County Recreation Department. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    Mr. and Mrs Gary Sanders run their sons through the paces during a recent night of baseball at the Putnam County Recreation baseball complex. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    The fitness center is back open at the recreation building from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. LEE COLEMAN/Staff
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    The first phase of approval for a $195,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to build a splashpad at the recreation complex on this proposed site will have to wait until the fall for final national DNR approval. LEE COLEMAN/Staff

After fighting through the tough times associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Putnam County Recreation Department is awakening from its hibernation and reopening the campus for use by all citizens.

On Thursday, April 15 at 5:30 p.m., the first pitch will be thrown out for Opening Night of the 2021 season of baseball and softball.

Recreation Director Scott Haley, now in his sixth year at the helm of the recreation department, said about 300 participants had registered for the season.

“That number of participants is pretty close to where we’ve had it,” he said. “That’s about where it was before COVID hit.”

The age range for players is between three years old and 14 years old. The T-Ball players will have their own field that is about 125 feet down the line while the three and four year old “Wee” ballplayers will play on a multi-purpose field on the back side of the campus.

“I talked to a lot of people and they are excited about the campus opening back up,” Haley said. “They are real excited about the gym being open again.”

The fitness room will be open from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and the cost to utilize that facility is $2 per day or $10 a month.

“Everybody has been ready to get back in here and get going,” said Haley. “Everybody has been positive and I’m having a lot of fun. We still have to be safe and cautious. Stay aware and keep things going and moving in the right direction.”

In other recreation news, Putnam County cleared the first hurdle to receiving a $195,000 Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant to build a kid’s splash pad. The first task was getting the approval at the state level which they did; now, the grant must get final approval at the national level which is slated for consideration in the fall.

If approved, the early plans call for the kid’s playground behind the baseball fields to be moved elsewhere on the recreation campus and the new splash pad installed in the vacated spot.