Only in The Villages: Original women's softball players still playing

Denise Emch, from left, of the Village of Polo Ridge, along with Shirley Jones, of the Village Rio Ponderosa, and Barb Wheelus, of the Village of Lynnhaven, are three of the original women’s softball players in The Villages that are still playing in Ladies Division 3.

Denise Emch, Barb Wheelus and Shirley Jones have seen firsthand the exponential growth of softball in The Villages.

When the three began playing in 1999, the sport, especially for women, looked much different than it does today. But one thing that hasn’t changed is those three stalwarts, who played in the first women’s league in The Villages more than two decades ago and are still playing today.

“There’s so many women now — so many playing softball,” said Emch, of the Village of Polo Ridge. “It really has grown, and we hope it continues to grow.”

Read this story and many others in Tuesday's edition of the Daily Sun.