Say goodbye to the Scouts of David City-East Butler-Shelby-Rising City and hello to the Blue River Panthers - of the same schools.

The school boards of David City, East Butler and Shelby Rising City have formed a cooperative agreement to field a softball team for the next two seasons.

The schools have been cooperating for the past year. Before that, David City and East Butler had fielded a coop team since 2004. David City started the softball program in 1999.

S-RC joined as a third partner for the 2016 season after interest was high among S-RC girls, but the numbers weren’t sufficient to field a team.

“I think Blue River is a good regional name,” said Chip Kay, superintendent at S-RC. “I can’t imagine what DC-EB-SRC would look like on a jersey. With the renewal of this cooperative S-RC is now a full one-third partner in the program.  No part of the agreement required the name change, but I think it shows the great relationship between the three school districts.”

This year, the Scouts had their best finish in years, ending as district runners-up to Wayne. The team faces a few more challenges in transportation and practice times, since two schools travel to the David City ball complex after each school day for practice.

The Scouts lost 8-0 to Wayne (27-3) in the District B4 championship game at Wisner. Despite the loss, it was a big moment for Scout softball and the three schools. The team finished the season 15-13, the first winning season since 2004, and it was the team’s first appearance in a district final.

East Butler Superintendent Sam Stecher and David City Superintendent Chad Denker agreed with Kay’s assessment.

Middle school football

David City and S-RC also found common ground  to address the low numbers in middle school football. Seventh and eighth graders from the two schools will practice and play on the same team for 2018 and 2019.

“The success of the softball cooperative was a factor in the decision,” Kay said.

The school administrators couldn’t say whether more cooperatives would be pursued in the future.

“I’m not sure if there will be additional co-op needs or opportunities in the future but I think DCPS is always willing to listen and explore various options when there is an opportunity to provide a better experience for our students and student-athletes,” Denker said.

“There are so many factors to take into consideration and for each school district the decision may be handled differently,” Kay said. “Even with consistent enrollment there are always concerns about participation numbers, which usually drives these discussions.”

Denker said the schools find ways to provide opportunities.

“It works because it mutually benefits the athletes in all three schools and provides another opportunity to compete,” Denker said.

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