McCarville sports tourneys draw many competitors, large crowds

CRESCO - Dozens of athletes and fans of all ages gathered at East Park in Cresco from July 21-23 to participate and watch some exciting slow-pitch softball contests, youth three-on-three girls’ and boys’ basketball games and bean bag tournaments to honor the late Steve McCarville. 
The weekend contests were hosted by Chris Sullivan, Ethan Kraft and Ryan, Kelly and Kyle McCarville. Ryan, Kelly and Kyle are the sons of Kathy and the late Steve McCarville.
On Saturday, July 22, Ryan McCarville addressed the fans and competitors prior to one of the evening softball contests.
“In my mind, East Park is one of the best parks in the tri-state area, hands down,” McCarville said.
Before the start of the game, McCarville’s daughter, Braelyn, sang the National Anthem to the crowd.
Following the anthem, Ryan McCarville continued his remarks.
“We started (these games) because we wanted dad’s legacy to live on forever,” McCarville said. “We thought, what a better way to do it than to have a softball tournament because we grew up at East Park together and we’re a softball family.
“It is so awesome to see this park jam-packed with fellow teammates, men and women. They bring back so many memories to this park. They made our lives, your lives and everyone in Cresco’s lives very special,” McCarville said.
He noted that everyone in his family has memories as children growing up playing ball at East Park.
“Big-mouth Dennis Sobolik was talking about all the memories,” McCarville said. “It’s great to have a new grandstand here now. As kids, we used to play whiffle ball here and watch our idols, such as Tim Grabau, Tom Fye and Big-cat McConnell, play ball. They were all heroes to us and still are. That’s what made East Park special.
“I also want to thank the Cresco Park and Recreation Department for all they do to keep this park beautiful and all the other parks in Cresco as well. They do a great job. East Park is almost like a major league ball park and we can be proud of that.
“I want to say thank you to Bill Caffrey and Rick McCarville. Before they retired, both Bill and Rick did a lot. They treated the park like it was their own. They also had a vision to put this (new) grandstand up and it looks phenomenal,” McCarville said.
McCarville noted that shortly before Steve passed away, Steve Lickteig and his crew came to East Park.
“The night that we dedicated the sign (in center field) to dad, Steve Lickteig came to us and said he wanted to do something special for your family,” McCarville said. “Steve said, ‘Your dad was a legend. It’s only right that people that play ball here play on a legendary field. I’m going to take care of the ball field for you.’ Steve treats the field like a major league field - he mows the grass, fertilizes it and paints stripes on the field. I can’t say thank you enough to Lickteig’s Lawn and Garden, Raymond Zubrod, Catlin Sanders and his crew for all they’ve done for the ball park. It means more to us than you’ll ever know.
“I also want to thank the Cresco Park and Recreation Park Board and the City of Cresco for dedicating the beautiful sign (with Steve McCarville’s name on it) in center field. I think ‘Steve McCarville Memorial Field’ has a pretty good ring to it. I know dad is up there gleaming from eye to eye looking at everyone here tonight because everyone was like family to us. That sign means the world to us. It’s awesome to know that his legacy will live on forever,” McCarville said.
He noted that he did some research to learn how East Park got started hosting slow-pitch softball games.
“I talked with several people (about softball),” McCarville said. “I learned that many people played fast-pitch softball in 1975 and 1976 and before that. In 1978-79, it was decided to change the game of softball at the time for a couple of reasons. 
“One reason was that people were realizing that as they got older, (slow-pitch) was a better fit for their bodies, especially for the McCarville family because of their bad knees. However, the main reason for the switch to slow-pitch was because they didn’t want to face pitcher Jim Sovereign in fast-pitch games. 
“Jim was one of the best fast-pitch pitchers in the county. Can you blame anyone who was staring down a 90-mile per hour fastball with no helmet for being scared? That changed the decision to start a slow-pitch league,” McCarville said.
He introduced Bill Caffery, who helped initiate the new grandstand project in recent years.
“The new grandstands were a dream of mine for several years,” Caffrey noted. “I got the idea from Elma, which had a stadium with a roof over it. People could sit in the shade. I had the idea (for the grandstands) before I became Park and Rec Director in 1992. I worked hard for this project.
“A few years before I retired, I talked with Rick (McCarville) and said, ‘Let’s give it another shot.’ So we did. We had a fundraiser and it was great. This project was pretty-much fully-funded by donations. I want to thank everyone for that.
“There are still a few things we want to add (to the park) such as building a fence that would prevent anyone from getting hit by a foul ball. That is in the process.
“Overall, I’m so proud of this park. Right before Steve passed away, we came up to the park and he told me, ‘Bill, this is nice!’ I’ve had a lot of good memories with Steve. 
“I couldn’t have done any of this without Steve’s brother, Rick. I want to tell everyone that the McCarville family is one hell of a family!” Caffrey said, to a big round of applause.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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