South Little League expands
In an effort to stop declining numbers and reaffirm interest in youth baseball locally, the South Tahoe Little League begins the 2001 season Friday looking younger than ever.
For the first time the league has invited 5-year-olds to play T-Ball. In past seasons, players had to be at least 6 years old to participate.
While some of the new players aren’t old enough to start kindegarten, their parents aren’t hesitating to give them an early start in baseball. League numbers are 10 percent higher that last year, bringing the area’s total up from 550 to more than 600 players.
“By getting their interest at an earlier age, we hope it will spark an interest to continue and maybe get their fundamentals earlier and make them more confident at higher levels,” said Jerry Weldy, the league’s second-year president.
Weldy knows the league made the right decision after seeing the reaction of the 5-year-olds’ parents.
“Parents of the 5-year-olds have been so happy when they’ve been coming in and it reminds us old-timers what it’s all about,” Weldy said.
A younger set of butterfly chasers and dirt diggers isn’t all that’s new with Little League. The major field will unveil a new scoreboard donated by Harrah’s Tahoe this weekend, while minor teams will break in two new cinderblock dugouts.
“We’ve had a lot of great people who have worked on it,” Weldy said.
Weldy and the league’s new board of directors began preparing for the 2001 season in October. In addition to Weldy, this year’s board consists of Paul Middlebrook, safety officer; Patti Stuck, player agent; Teri Dugan, secretary; Lynn Dupree, treasurer; Mike Dupree and Dave Olivo, umpire chiefs; Kathy Gibb and Darrell Schue, head scorekeepers; Steve Weldy, equipment; Bruce Brown and Randy Inglis, field maintenance; Ellen Lagerback, Rick Brown and Kathy Wright, player representatives; and Don Amaral and Jack Condella, at-large assistance.
The fruits of their work will start being enjoyed during Friday’s 5 p.m. opening day ceremony at the Little League fields on Rufus Allen Boulevard.
Players and their families will enjoy a barbecue at 4:30 p.m. and the T-ball, farm, minor and major teams will be introduced in their new uniforms at 5 p.m. Don Bosson will get the festivities started by singing the national anthem.
Several games will be played following the ceremonies and a full slate of games will play out on Saturday.
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