Brett Oeltjen’s into golf and diamonds this year. 

And that’s just his softball game…

“The softball contest…it’s kind of like golfing.  You get someone to pitch, and you get three balls, hit them and see how close to the pin that’s in the field, and each time, if you get close, you want to see if you can get the ball closer.  At the end, we tally up the distances, and whoever is the winner is the winner,” said softball contest and home run derby organizer Oeltjen, explaining how the softball tournament works as each batter takes the plate and a swing at winning. 

After three balls, people can buy a ball each time to see if they can get it closer to the pin in the field.  The closest to the pin softball-hitting contest is set for 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18, on the South Park ball diamond.

Another softball feature is the home run derby, which was an exciting addition last year. The derby is also Friday, Aug. 18, but begins at 5 p.m. on the ball field at South Park.

The home run derby is modeled somewhat after the Major League Baseball all-star game derby, although each player gets a certain number of balls, rather than a set amount of time. Participants, who get 10 balls to hit, can supply their own pitcher to see how many they can hit over the fence.  Whoever hits the most gets a prize at the end. 

“The home run derby and softball contest help pay for getting the softball tournament we do, going, and it involves more people because you don’t have to be softball people to do this.  It draws more kids and is more entertainment at the park,” said Oeltjen.

The softball tournament slated for Ag Days weekend at South Park, which has been a tradition, has been averaging 10 to 12 teams, although the goal is 16.

Oeltjen invited everyone who wants to give either, or both, a try to step up to home plate and take a swing at it, adding that there will be a small fee for participating. He hopes to see plenty of people attempting to “golf” a softball close to the pin or send a home run flying over the fence, all in the name of summertime.