JEFFERSON — Decades of service to area girls was honored on Saturday morning when the Jefferson Area Girls Softball organization named a field in honor of long-time coach and board member Kathie Watts.

Watts died in February. Family members attended the ceremony honoring her commitment to young girls learning the game of softball.

The presentation was made during opening day ceremonies by board member, and opening day speaker, Sara Kincaid. She said Watts coached for about 35 years.

"We lost a huge part of JAGS this year. She left an imprint on JAGS," Kincaid said while all the teams lined up along the border between the infield and the outfield.

Valerie Weber, Watts' daughter, spoke for the family, thanking the league for honoring her mother. She said her mother was very competitive and liked to win but more importantly she taught life lessons to her players.

Weber said the importance of life-long relationships started on the JAGS fields were also important to Watts. She said her mother always encouraged her, and the other girls, to have fun.

Kincaid presented Weber with a custom-made batting helmet honoring Watts.

Brad Watts, Watt's son, said a family friend approached him about the idea of naming a field after his mother and the family was supportive.

Watts said his mother spent a lot of time coaching the younger girls instead of moving up to older players.

"She thought it was important that the girls know how to do things right from the start," he said.

Watts said his mother played sports with the boys when she was growing up before it was in vogue for girls to participate in organized competition. Kathie Watts is also survived by her husband Tom.

Kincaid said JAGS  has 221 girls signed up to play this summer and they live in Madison, Ashtabula, Andover and Kingsville as well as the Jefferson area. 

She also thanked all the people who recently cleaned the complex and all the board members that administrate the league.

Kincaid said a sign honoring Watts will soon be  posted at the field.

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