Eagle Observer Logo
Replica edition News Obituaries Community Sports Opinion Religion Special Sections Photos Contact us Customer Service Email Updates
ADVERTISEMENT

Softball contest 13 years in the making for two families

by Michael Eckels | June 22, 2021 at 8:53 a.m.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS After the big softball matchup, a Hickson kicker launches the ball into the hands of the Wilkins pitcher during a kickball contest at Edmiston softball field in Decatur late Saturday morning. The pitcher dropped the ball allowing the young runner to take first base.

DECATUR -- In 2008, Becky Arnold, a member of the Hickson family, called Mary Wilkins with the Wilkins family and challenged the Wilkins clan to a game of softball. Wilkins accepted the challenge and they set up a date for the game to be played at Edmiston softball field in Decatur.

When the day came, Wilkins and Arnold found that their friendly rivalry turned into a full-blown softball tournament with teams from Decatur High School, former high school athletes, and even a team from Kansas. The game ended with the Wilkins clan claiming the win.

Thirteen years later, Arnold wanted to give the next generation of both families a chance to participate, so she issued a rematch to Wilkins and, after setting a date, the biggest Decatur grudge match was on.

At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, members of both families, along with a host of friends took to the field for the contest.

There were several Decatur High School alumni, along with a few current athletes that came to help their teams.

The Wilkinses took to the field first, while the Hickson clan batted first. The game was set up for seven innings. A Hickson batter was the first to hit one out of the ballpark for a home run. From that point, over 15-plus balls found their way to the other side of the fence for a home run.

Ninety minutes later, the Wilkinses claimed the win, 16-15, leading to yet a second grudge match to be played in October.

After the game, both families got together for a family reunion. While most of the 85 people gathered for the event ate hotdogs and chips, another game unfolded on the softball field, a kickball contest.

Mark Wilkins, Mary's son, helped with organizing the day-long event. He expressed his gratitude to the two groups for the help they provided to make this event a big success.

"I would like to thank Mayor Bob Tharp and the city of Decatur for the use of this ballpark," Wilkins concluded.

Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS

A young Hickson kicker contacts the ball sending it to the left infield during the kickball contest at Edmiston softball field in Decatur Saturday. The young player managed to make it around the bases and back to home for a run thanks in large part to the next two kickers.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS A young Hickson kicker contacts the ball sending it to the left infield during the kickball contest at Edmiston softball field in Decatur Saturday. The young player managed to make it around the bases and back to home for a run thanks in large part to the next two kickers.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS

As the Hickson player (left) runs to first base, Wilkins pitcher Joey Barnes catches the pop up fly ball during the Saturday morning softball game at Edmiston softball field in Decatur. The Wilkins family won the contest 16-15 over the Hicksons.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS As the Hickson player (left) runs to first base, Wilkins pitcher Joey Barnes catches the pop up fly ball during the Saturday morning softball game at Edmiston softball field in Decatur. The Wilkins family won the contest 16-15 over the Hicksons.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS

Who crossed first base first? The Hickson pitcher (right) and the Wilkins first baseman meet at the same time during the closing innings of the Wilkins-Hickson softball game at Edmiston softball field in Decatur Saturday morning. The first baseman made the tag to late as the runner was called safe.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Who crossed first base first? The Hickson pitcher (right) and the Wilkins first baseman meet at the same time during the closing innings of the Wilkins-Hickson softball game at Edmiston softball field in Decatur Saturday morning. The first baseman made the tag to late as the runner was called safe.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS

Joey Barnes delivers a pitch to home plate for the Wilkins team during the Saturday morning  Wilkins-Hickson softball game in Decatur. Barnes pitches the entire seven inning contest to claim the win 16-15 over the Hickson team
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Joey Barnes delivers a pitch to home plate for the Wilkins team during the Saturday morning Wilkins-Hickson softball game in Decatur. Barnes pitches the entire seven inning contest to claim the win 16-15 over the Hickson team
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS

A Wilkins batter connects with the ball sending it into left field for a base hit during the Saturday morning Wilkins-Hickson family softball game at Edmiston softball field in Decatur.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS A Wilkins batter connects with the ball sending it into left field for a base hit during the Saturday morning Wilkins-Hickson family softball game at Edmiston softball field in Decatur.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS

Jimmy Mendoza, playing for the Wilkins team, connects with ball sending it into center filed during the Saturday morning Wilkins-Hickson softball grudge match at Edmiston softball field in Decatur. The Wilkins team took the win 16-15 over the Hicksons.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Jimmy Mendoza, playing for the Wilkins team, connects with ball sending it into center filed during the Saturday morning Wilkins-Hickson softball grudge match at Edmiston softball field in Decatur. The Wilkins team took the win 16-15 over the Hicksons.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS

Cameron Shaffer dives for home plate in order to score another run for the Wilkins team during the Saturday afternoon Wilkins-Hickson softball game in Decatur. The Wilkins team pulled out the win 16-15 over the Hickson team.
Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Cameron Shaffer dives for home plate in order to score another run for the Wilkins team during the Saturday afternoon Wilkins-Hickson softball game in Decatur. The Wilkins team pulled out the win 16-15 over the Hickson team.

Print Headline: Softball contest 13 years in the making for two families

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content