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Last Updated: 3/23/18
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In 1954, a handful of members of the Hillsboro community decided to start a Little League baseball program. Five little league teams and, eventually, three Babe Ruth teams were organized and played their first games at the fairgrounds. When the local little league was orgainzed, Hillsboro High School baseball, a fast-pitch softball league and an independent league plated on a single diamond on the grounds.
Some of Hillsboro's first coaches and organizers included Jake Wagoner, Dick Shaffer, Bob Hamm, Frank Collins, George Boone, Norman DeHass, Jim Carey, Bill Mallory, and Dan Reed.
In 1961 the teams made the move to what is now Shaffer Park when the Highland County Chamber of Commerce bought the land on North High Street for the leagues. This purchase included only the east side of the park where the "A" league, Pony league, and girls' diamonds now exist. While the fields were being built, the teams played in the grass were thr new Hillsboro Water Treatment Plant is located. Meanwhile, volunteer efforts were under way. People who had already put in eight-hour days built poles and lights every evening. Numerous electricians, carpenters, businessmen, and utility companies contributed to the park's development. The community's efforts never ceased even through a huge flood in 1965 caused by seven inches of rain in two hours. The flood wiped out most of the volunteers' hard work, but construction resumed. The city of Hillsboro purchased the west die of the park in 1966, which allowed a Babe Ruth and "c" diamonds to be built. The girls' leagues were formed in the the early 1970s and shared the boys' pony league diamonds. In 1992, after the adult softball association moved to Liberty Park, construction began on the the girls' softball complex. Alice Cassner was a special benefactor, and in 1993, the grand opening of Cassner Field was held. Two more softball diamonds were added the next year.
In 1988, the park was named after Richard (Dick) Shaffer who donated many hours and much hard work to making the park one of the best in southern Ohio. In 2008, a major building project was undertaken by now park director, Bruce Davis. New bathrooms and a new concession stand were constructed on the third-base side of the Raymond R Stout Post 129 Field, and an office, umpires' room and press box were built on the first-base side. Most of the money and work on these projects was donated by the local community and businesses. In 2011, the original two diamonds were named after Dan W. Reed and Frank (Squeak) Collins, who along with Shaffer were the first appointed commissioners by the city of Hillsboro.
The Hillsboro Little League program, which started with eight teams, has impressively grown to include approximately 50 teams. The park now has four baseball diamonds and three softball diamonds and is home to the Hillsboro High School baseball and softball teams and Post 129 Legion baseball team.
In the mid '70's the Hillsboro Recreation Commission began hosting what is known as the Tournament of Champions, which now includes tournaments for 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, and 16 and under. This event draws dozens of teams to Hillsboro each year in late July and is the parks' only major fundraiser.
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