Berne, Geneva leagues combine

    Youth baseball programs in Berne and Geneva are now operating under one umbrella, with the possibility of girls softball joining that association at some point in the future.
    Berne City Councilman Ron Dull on Monday evening announced the formation of the South Adams Youth League as the new governing body for youth baseball operations in the two communities. Dull said the organization, which is not affiliated with South Adams Schools, replaces the Berne Little League association as well as the Southern Adams League that oversaw youth baseball in Geneva last season.
    He said the merger was made as the recommendation of South Adams High School varsity baseball coach Brad Buckingham. Dull said Buckingham believed that having two competing organizations, both from the SA school district, was not in the best interest of the young athletes.
    A seven-member governing board has been appointed to oversee the new youth league, Dull said. A representative of the park boards in both Berne and Geneva are members of that executive committee.
    Dull said youth baseball games will be played in both communities this summer, and that each town would be responsible for preparing and maintaining their own diamonds and facilities.
    The new South Adams Youth League has received 501(3)(c) status as a non-profit organization.
    Berne Mayor John Minch asked Dull about the status of girls softball as part of the new league. City Council President Gregg Sprunger said that at this point the girls' programs are "completely separate" from the new organization. Dull said high school softball coach Jessie O'Dell is interested in restructuring the girls' leagues in Berne and Geneva, adding that the softball program could be incorporated into the South Adams Youth League at some point in the future, or could remain a separate entity.