John Broad, president of the Waxahachie Youth Baseball Association (WYBA) is preparing for what looks to be another out of the park baseball and softball season.

The association will host more than 1,000 youth participants this year, which is the most in the programs’ 50-year existence.

WYBA provides youth baseball programs in seven age-based division (Blast Ball ages 3-4; T-Ball ages 5-6; Coach Pitch ages 7-8; 10U, 12U, 14U as well as the county’s only 18U rec league division). Last year, the league expanded to add a girl’s softball league.

“I’m really looking forward to the season kicking off,” Broad said. “We have 858 signed up to play baseball and 225 girls signed up to play softball. That is a record-breaking 1,083 kids participating this year.”

Broad said one of the contributing factors to the growth is the competitiveness of the league.

“Our league is by far one of the most competitive leagues around,” Broad said. “That’s why parents from surrounding cities are bringing their kids to participate in this association. They want their kids involved in an exceptional competitive program, without the hassle of driving long distances.”

Broad said youth from Palmer, Midlothian, Ennis, Maypearl, Italy and Ovilla, to name a few, are coming to Waxahachie to take part in the programs.

He also said the growth is due to the number of volunteers who sacrifice their time, money and efforts to make the programs successful.

“We have great volunteers,” he said. “Everybody from coaches to board members on down to the parents help make this program the best. Our programs wouldn’t be successful without them.”

Bill Howell is the director of the softball league and said he feels the reason that it’s exploding is because it serves as another outlet for girls.

“In addition to cheerleading and basketball, this league gives girls another athletic option,” Howell said. “Last year we had 99 girls involved. We have tripled female participation in one year.”

This year the softball league will consist of four teams of 8U, six teams of 10U and eight teams of 14U.

Broad said when it comes to the baseball league; his hope is that it continues to be a strong competitive league.

“I want to see kids having fun, while improving,” he said. “Waxahachie has a strong history of baseball and we want to continue that great tradition by continuing to grow the program.”

The baseball league will consist of 23 teams of 6U (T-ball), 18 teams of 8U, 13 teams of 10U, seven teams of 12U; six teams of 14U and an 18 and under league that is still in the process of registering players.

Broad said in addition to parents wanting their children to participate in a competitive league, they are coming out because the complex is a top-notch facility.

“We are very grateful to the Johnson Baseball Group for making the complex one of the best around,” Broad said. “Bryan (Johnson) has been instrumental in seeing that our fields are kept in the best conditions.”

Broad said going into the new season, there are a number of goals they would like to achieve.

“Last year we decided to play at least three seasons of baseball/softball,” he said. “This year I would like to see us make better transitions between those seasons. Also, this will be our first year to institute pure age group teams. With kids playing against kids their own age and on their level, it will make for better competition.

Another addition to this year’s baseball program will be the modified T-ball league. In this league, children 6 and under will have a mixture of hitting off coaches and tees.

Broad said it is not too late for children to sign up to play baseball/softball. He said they will continue to register players until March 20. Opening day is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 31.

For more information about WYBA, visit wybonline.org.

Contact Melissa at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@wninews.com.