WAUKESHA — Most teenagers tend to do what’s trendy or profitable when they’re not in school. Cooper Janicki, Jacob Palkowski and their friends decided to set aside one night a week and do something outside the box this summer, and they’re glad they did.
The two 2019 Waukesha West graduates gathered their friends, formed teams and registered to play slowpitch softball in the Waukesha Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry’s Wednesday B League at Saratoga Complex.
Janicki’s Schmidt Custom team reached the win column for the first time with an 18-9 triumph over Palkowski’s Ridge Rakers on May 15, but the Ridge Rakers settled the score with a 24-10 victory June 5. Schmidt Custom took the teams’ season series with a 24-11 win July 10 and finished the regular season at 7-7, while the Ridge Rakers went 3-11.
The two managers were asked what motivated them and their friends to play softball, a sport that has been declining in popularity among men in their teens, 20s and 30s for a couple of decades.
“During the winter in one of my classes, a group of my friends talked about playing a recreational sport for fun just to hang out,” Janicki said. “All of us enjoyed baseball, and the first thing we actually looked into was joining a baseball league. However, we couldn’t find a league that fit our schedule and finances.