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Do people still play softball at night in the park behind the MLK Center?

Tom Grady

The softball field at Robert Strange Park, behind the Martin Luther King Center, 401 S. 8th St., Wilmington [Map this], was used for many years as one of the sites for the adult softball program run by the city.

John Rancke, the athletics supervisor for the city’s recreation department, said the program has not played adult softball at Robert Strange Park in 10 to 12 years.

“Why don’t we play there now?” Rancke said. “The lighting system is so bad. Things have progressed so much. The balls have progressed so much. The bats have progressed so much. Safety is a primary concern.”

He also said he understands there was a round of gunfire one night during a game more than a decade ago.

He explained the New Hanover girls’ prep softball team also no longer plays on the field due to Title IX. Two years ago, the Wildcats moved their home games to Noble Middle School, where facilities for storage and other amenities are available to meet Title IX requirements.

Youth baseball games are still played on the Robert Strange field, along with Pop Warner Football practices and soccer practices.

“We lit Maides Park with new lights, but it’s not fenced and its not ready to play on,” Rancke said. “And the bond was passed to build (the Olsen Park complex) so this is where we are.”

User-contributed question by:
Jerry Bruton

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