SWS originated from the fact that while many communities offer in-house programs through all age levels, participation at the older levels is often too low to make an in-house program viable. By combining teams from many communities, participants are able to play a full and varied schedule, even if their home organization is only able to produce a single team at a given level.
This “traveling in-house” program began in 1995, when Plainfield and Romeoville combined their 18U programs. The experiment worked so well that during the off-season members of the softball organizations from Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Naperville, Plainfield, and Romeoville met together and formed SWS.
SWS played its first season in 1996 with ten teams from those five communities in the 18U division. In 1997, Lockport and Cresthill joined SWS and the league expanded to include 10U, 12U, and 14U divisions. Westmont and Woodridge became members in 1999, and Joliet brought the number of member communities to ten in 2002. Also in 2002, the Women’s division opened, providing players 18 and over an opportunity to continue playing.
In 2003 SWS ran its first fall league, shorter and less competitive than the summer season, where coaches could concentrate on developing players.
Lisle and Wheatland joined SWS for the 2005 season. 2005 was also the inaugural season of the Travel division, a separate program serving the needs of teams that had moved beyond the in-house level to be more competitive, “B” level travel teams.
A 16U division was added in 2006, and an 8U division will debut in 2008.
In 2007 SWS was proud to provide fastpitch players on 105 In-house, Travel, and Women’s teams with a quality softball experience at levels from 10U through adult. Continued growth is expected, and improving the quality of the program is the goal in 2010.