There is a new travel softball team in Jackson County, Lady Venom. Managed by Shari Leavitt and coached by Rick Leavitt and Allen Malcomb, this team consists of 16 girls ages 12-14 years-old.

“Last year our little girl was looking for a softball team to join, so she found a team and joined it,” Shari Leavitt said. “The coach had two teams going so my husband and another dad jumped in, took the bull by the horns, and began coaching the older girls. The other coach was still over the team though.”

Leavitt noted as the summer went on her and her husband decided to start fresh.

“We decided to get a new team together, new name, new everything,” Leavitt said. “We let the girls select the name and everything else.”

The team began practicing in February and have played in a few scrimmages. Their season schedule starts with Tournament USA this weekend, June 7-9 at the Don Godby fields in Parkersburg and games are scheduled through October.

Players are from all parts of Jackson County and practices are held at the softball field at Ripley Middle School, Ripley High School, or the softball field at Evans Elementary School.

Lady Venom is important to the county, the coaches, and the players.

“My favorite part would probably be how supportive my group is,” Lady Venom player Samara Casto said. “Whenever I make a mistake they are always are there to give me advice.”

Having this softball team in Jackson County gives the girls an opportunity to do something with a group, something that they can treasure.

“I came from Ravenswood not knowing anyone but three girls that I grew up with and now I’m so close with all of them,” Lady Venom player Riley Bell said. “Throughout time we’ve became a family, we get new girls and they just fall into our big family. The friendships I’ve made, you can’t really beat that over anything else.”

Leavitt says without the help of sponsors, fundraising events, and fans, they would be very limited on the games and tournaments they are able to compete in.

Uniforms cost around $200 per athlete and tournaments run about $250, minimum. The team offers sponsorship levels, but accepts monetary donations of any amount. All donations are appreciated.

Sponsor levels include:

• Platinum ($400)

• Gold ($300)

• Silver ($200)

• Bronze ($100)

Checks can be made payable to Lady Venom, and fundraisers will be announced as they are planned. All sponsors and donations are published on a banner which is displayed at all tournaments and parades they attend.

For questions about the team, contact Shari Leavitt at 304-531-2009. Information can also be found on their Facebook page under Lady Venom @ladyvenomteam.