By Keith Harrington
The Hartford Board of Education voted last week to seek a merger of its interscholastic sports programs for modified, junior varsity and varsity softball with Fort Edward.
The board also passed a resolution seeking a merger for modified, junior varsity and varsity baseball with Fort Edward and Argyle.
Pending approval of similar resolutions by Fort Edward and Argyle, a merger application will be forwarded to the Adirondack League’s merger subcommittee for review. The subcommittee will then make a recommendation to the league for discussion and a vote. The vote would take place at the league’s November meeting.
If the league approves the merger request, it will be forwarded to Section 2 for approval. Past practice has been that if the league approves the merger, generally Section II has gone along.
“The league has full authority to approve or deny the application in full or in part, meaning that the league could approve or deny the entire application or specific levels,” said Hartford school superintendent Andrew Cook. “For example, the league could deny a three-way varsity merger, but allow a three-way JV or modified merger.”
Hartford has not fielded a junior varsity baseball team since the 2010-2011 season. The Tanagers modified team is barely getting by, averaging 10 players per season. The varsity baseball team is averaging 13 players a year.
The varsity softball team has been highly successful, reaching the Section II Class D final the last two seasons. However, Hartford has not fielded a junior varsity team since 2011-2012, and has not had a modified team in two years.
Last season the Tanagers’ varsity softball team had eight sophomores who now are juniors. With no junior varsity or modified team to draw from currently, the fear that softball will cease to exist in Hartford in the very near future is very real without the merger.
“While it is sad to say, looking into the future, if nothing changes, we could potentially not have a softball team in three years,” Cook said at the September meeting that was held to inform and get feedback from the community.
This is only a preview of the story published in the Granville Sentinel. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.