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The city’s open spaces are still far from ready for the annual onslaught of softball warriors, but registration is under way nonetheless for what will be another big year for the sport’s Capitol Hill-centered leagues.

[IMGCAP(1)]The House Softball League kicked off its fifth year with the opening of registration Monday. Even though the snow is still piled high on the National Mall and other “green” spaces across Washington, House Softball League Commissioner Anthony Reed said he expects about 115 teams to register.

“The snow helps people think they want to get outside and play softball,” Reed joked. Registration runs through mid-April. The season starts May 3, and there has been much early interest in signing up.

“We are looking forward to a lot of teams contending,” said Reed, a lobbyist who was chief of staff for then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). “It should be a great season.”

The Senate Softball League began registration Feb. 16. Commissioner Sonja Hoover expects around 80 teams to sign up for the league. Hoover is a staffer for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

The 2009 Senate league champion, Well Swung, looks forward to defending its title. “What I am most excited for is to get rid of the snow, get back out there and throw the ball around,” said Nick Falvo of Well Swung. “You never know who is going to be good year to year.”

The Congressional Softball League opens its registration March 12. More than 40 teams played in the Congressional league last year, and a similar number is expected this year.

The 2010 season comes with a new feature in the House league: a YouTube channel. Reed hopes teams will upload game footage throughout the season. Already on the site is video from last year’s exciting “King of the Hill” game, the annual matchup between the champions of the House and Senate leagues. In last year’s game Well Swung defeated House champion Texas Republic in a final-inning comeback.

“Time flies pretty fast,” Reed said. “I can’t believe it’s almost the season already.”

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