Little League fever … catch it!
Major League Baseball played several games before Opening Day, so why can’t the South Tahoe National Little League?
Opening Day for the South Tahoe Little League is Friday, but the Rockies and Marlins actually open major action today at 5:30 p.m. at Fred Rightmier Field. On the minor field, the Dodgers and Mariners will get the ball rolling.
The final touches to the fields will be made this morning when breakaway safety fences will be erected.
The 55-day season, including a season-ending double-elimination playoff tournament, continues through June 20.
A mild March and April allowed teams to get on fields earlier, so the quality of play should be further along than normal.
Leading the league into the new season is Kristin Burghard. Burghard has taken over for Jerry Weldy, who has served as president for the past four years.
“I know it sounds funny, but most of all I learned patience from her,” said Burghard, who served on the league’s board of directors last year. “I have so much respect for her. There is so much more to being president than you would ever think.
“I want to support our community and I want to be a positive role model for the kids.”
Burghard got started in Little League nine years ago, coaching her oldest son Michael’s farm team.
“Baseball is so positive. It’s the one thing this community can hang onto. You have to have baseball,” Burghard said.
Despite a growing trend of families moving off the hill, Little League enrollment hasn’t suffered. With a healthy infusion of younger players, the league has 509 players.
The league’s finances are also encouraging with $11,700 raised through community fund-raisers.
“That’s pretty incredible for one year,” she said. “I’m really proud of the community donating as much money and time as everybody has.”
Last year’s league finalists – the Giants and Cubs – will play on Opening Day at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Enticements include Don Bosson singing the national anthem and a barbecue provided by Safeway. Hot dog and hamburger dinners are $4 and $3, respectively, with all of the money collected going to Little League.
The league’s younger divisions – T-ball, Minor B and Farm – will commence play on Saturday.
Notes: The league has reached agreement with more than 40 children to umpire games this spring … other board members include Jerry Weldy, safety officer; Steve Weldy, equipment manager; Patti Stuck, major representative; Joby Cefalu, player agent; Neal Trebotich, chief umpire; Andy Braun, head scorekeeper; Toby Sharp, minor representative; Linda Neil, secretary and Mike McKeen, treasurer.