Even before the 1970’s there were girls playing ball in the Augusta area. It was not unusual to find one or two girls on Augusta East Little League teams. In 1975 there were 30 girls in the AELL. Interest by girls was growing exponentially. A group of girls was drawn from AELL in 1978 to form an All-Star Softball team. The team was coached by Howard Mason and Bob Felt. This team won the Little League Major District Championship and then went on to win the State Championship.
It became obvious to the AELL Board that girls’ softball had arrived. The board president at the time was Joe Linscott. Also championing the cause of girls’ softball was Bud Folsom and Dennis Towle. With the need of setting up teams for softball, the board created positions to manage the girl’s side of Little League. The first Vice President of Softball was John Dickens, and the first Player Agent of Softball was Bud Folsom. Four Softball teams were set up in 1978. Sponsors for the first four teams were Augusta Elk’s, Knights of Columbus, Mike’s Restaurant, and Bonanza. 56 girls from the age of 9 to 12 competed for the first time in a league of their own. Another All-Star team was drawn from these teams and went on to win the Major District and State Championship. This 1979 State Championship was hosted by Augusta East Little League.
Augusta’s softball players continued to prove themselves throughout the 1980’s. During this decade they won Little League Major District Championships in 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1987. In 1983 and 1984 they won the State Championships in this division. AELL softball began to compete in Senior District championships in 1985 and their success continued. They won the Little League Senior District Championships in 1985, 1986, and 1987.
With the growth of both boys and girls Little League teams scheduling games on Rivelli Field, Linscott Field, and the farm league field was getting difficult in the 1980’s. The Army National Guard approached CARA in 1983 to build a softball field for the Guard. Arthur Pilsbury spearheaded the project to build Minuteman Field which was completed in 1985. The Guard lost interest in using the field, and the Cony Softball team started using Minuteman for their home games; they had been using Rivelli Field. In 1989 the State of Maine was developing a site for the new Motor Vehicle Building. In order to have room for a parking lot the State needed the Farm League field. To accomplish this the State purchased the lease for Minuteman Field from the National Guard for $25,000 to transfer control back to CARA They also agreed to pay CARA $25,000, and this funding was used to put lights on Rivelli and Minuteman. Included in the deal was land to the east of Minuteman that would eventually become developed as Patriot Field. All these changes allowed Augusta East Little League to grow.
In the early 1990’s softball continued to flourish. But changes were coming. In 1994 Donald Sproul and Ray Beaudoin formed a 10-U ASA travel team called the Capitol Crusaders. Most of the girls on this team were also on the AELL Major-League All-Star Team. Both of the teams went on to win State Championships. After being exposed to ASA softball many of the softball parents liked the format of ASA Softball. It allowed better competition, more travel games and allowed girls from surrounding communities to join our league. In order for softball to become ASA the girls had to separate from Augusta East Little League. Thanks to the cooperation of the boy’s side of AELL, the transition went smoothly.
November 16, 1997, was the first board meeting of Capital Area Youth Softball Association. Elected board members at that meeting were President-Paul Potvin, Vice-President-Don Sproul, Secretary-Pete Marczak, and Finance Chair-Reggie Clark.
The Capital Mainiacs, CAYSA’s travel teams, continued their success. In 1997 the 12-U and 14-U teams became State Champions. In 1998 14-U and 16-U teams won State Championships and went on to the Regionals where the 16-U won the regional championship. They then competed in the ASA National Championship tournament in Georgia. The 14-U Capital Mainiacs won State ASA Championships in 1999 and 2000. The 2000 team continued on to play in the 14-U ASA National Championship in South Dakota. In 2001 CAYSA fielded two 16-U teams, a 14-U team and a 12-U team. The 2001 16-U team won a State Championship and competed in the 16-U ASA National Championship in Texas.
With the popularity of girls’ softball growing, the need for another field existed. In February of 2000, Chris Swain presented a plan developed by Coffin Engineering for a field to be built to the east of Minuteman Field. Paul Potvin spearheaded the project along with the help of Joe Linscott, Mike Golden, and Tom Radsky. The generosity of H.E. Sargent Company, John Bridge (Bridge Construction), Coffin Engineering, and the City of Augusta made building the field possible. Joe Linscott donated funding for the backstop. In the fall of 2001, the United States was going through the turmoil of 9/11. It was appropriate that CAYSA named the new field Patriot Field.
In the spring of 2002 Mike Golden and Shawn Harrington built the batting cage next to Minuteman Field with the sponsorship of Coffin Engineering. Patriot Field needed dugouts and storage. In 2002 Dean Parker and Ray Beaudoin used their construction skills to get it done. Concrete footings were poured by Lajoie Brothers, and in a few weeks CAYSA volunteers built two dugouts with storage closets on the ends.
Benefiting from two fields, a new batting cage and a strong home league, CAYSA’s travel teams had one of the strongest programs in the state. The Capital Mainiacs won 16-U State Champs in 2002, 18-U State Champs in 2003 (which went onto the National Qualifier in South Dakota), 10-U State Champs in 2004 and 2005. In 2007 the 10-U Capital Mainiacs became State ASA Champs, Regional Champs and went to the National ASA Championship in Auburn, Alabama. The quality of players CAYSA developed was seen in 2007 where the 12-U team was State Champs. In 2008 the 10-U team was State Champs and Regional runners-up. The success continued in 2009 with the 12-U Capital Mainiacs becoming State Champs.
CAYSA President Mark Perry lead a group of volunteers to rebuild the surface of Minuteman Field in 2010. A project that would normally cost $25,000 was done for $17,000 and 250 volunteer hours. Thanks to people and organizations like Ralph Stiman, Joe Linscott, Quirion Construction, B&S Paving, Ron Gilbert, Dean Parker, and Mike Golden our girls have one of the best complexes in the state.
Still growing and needing another field, Joe Linscott, representing CARA, suggested using the area used for parking next to the basketball courts. This area was not utilized much and CARA wanted to maximize its potential. The CARA board not only voted for the new field but also donated the backstop from the Youth Memorial Field. Mark Perry, his son Connor, and Bill Logan started developing the new T-Ball Field east of Patriot Field. They spent many hours leveling, York raking, picking out rocks, and adding loam. After this preparation the City of Augusta provided a grader and operator to get the field in playing shape. Co-Presidents Noel LaVasseur and Andy Wing continued to improve the field in 2012. A special thanks goes to Lee Goucher for the many hours he worked on the field. Now even our youngest players have their own field.
Also, in 2012, Minuteman Field was almost 30 years old. Routine maintenance was not enough to save the dug outs. The old dugouts were torn down and relocated even with the field fences. Paul Rodrigue and Dan Nadeau volunteered their carpentry skills to lead CAYSA volunteers to build the new dugouts. Working alongside them were Bill Ackerson, Ray Beaudoin, Andy Wing, Noel LaVasseur, Ray Bisson, Vinnie McGuire and many more. To cap a great softball year for CAYSA, the 2012 10-U Capital Mainiacs won the ASA State Championship. On opening day in 2013, the CAYSA board surprised Lifetime Board member Ray Beaudoin by renaming Minute man Field to Beaudoin Park.
The CAYSA Complex continued to be improved on in the spring of 2014. New and improved backstops were installed at Beaudoin Park and Patriot Field. Power was installed for Patriot Field with On Target donating poles and lines, and Ray Beaudoin installing a new underground electrical service and lines for the new scoreboard. Remodeling was done in the Concession Stand and permanent benches installed at the T-Ball Field. The 2014 Capital Mainiacs finished the season on a high note with the 12-U Team winning the State Championship and the 10-U team came in second in the state. CAYSA today has over 200 girls participating in our program. We draw ball players not only from Augusta, but from Hall-Dale, Gardiner, Winthrop, Windsor, Chelsea, Sidney, Winslow Belgrade, Jefferson, Whitefield, Manchester, and Readfield. We’ve become the best place for girls to play softball in central Maine.
The future for CAYSA is very bright. We are working with the Capital Area Recreation Association and Augusta Little League to build a four-field complex on the Cony Road end of the Piggery Road. With the support of our central Maine community, we will build the best softball program in the state.