Despite the forecast of rain for the night before and the afternoon of, the sun shone brightly on the Opening Day Ceremony and Parade at the Mountaintop Area Little League Baseball/Softball Complex at Alberdeen. The theme this year was “Memories” to mark the 75th anniversary of Little League Baseball as an organized sport.
As is customary, the players, ages 6 through 13 lined up at the Mountaintop Area Joint Sanitary Authority parking lot for their march up Morio Drive to Alberdeen Road and then into the complex drive. Approximately 550 players in T-Ball, Coach Pitch, Minors, Majors and Junior Babe Ruth took their place on the outfield of Orloski Field surrounded by parents, family and friends.
Board Member Dave Reddiker was Master of Ceremonies and brought the crowd through each guest and speaker, beginning with the Star Spangled Banner, sung by Majors Yankees player, Erin Hines and the opening remarks by Pat Rinehimer, League President, who encouraged the players to make every memory count during their time in Little League.
“Even if you don’t realize you are making memories, you are. You are making your own memories, and you are going to be in someone else’s memories,” said Rinehimer. “Enjoy every minute.”
Father Joe Evanko, Pastor of St. Jude Roman Catholic Parish, encouraged the students to celebrate their victories and their experience during his invocation.
Later, Greg Matkosky, Creative Director for Documentary Films for WVIA and guest speaker, commented on his experience while making the film Little League: A History, a documentary to mark the 75th anniversary of Little League baseball that will premier nationwide on June 6. Mountaintop Area Little League has a small representation in the film. He spoke directly to the players and gave a brief summary of the day Carl Stoltz, then 23 years old, tripped over a lilac bush and cut his leg while playing baseball with his nephews in his back yard. It was then that the idea of a scaled down field and bats, a new ball and real uniforms for children’s baseball games was born.
Matkosky recounted that there are now 2 million little league players around the world playing for 175,000 teams. “You are part of something very special that spans around the world. They play Little League Baseball in Nevada. They play in Japan. They play in Uganda. And they play in Mountaintop.”
Matkosky then addressed the parents. “I’ve talked to a lot of parents, and a lot of volunteers, and I’ve found out that you’re all here for a lot of reasons, but mostly because you love your kids,” said Matkosky “This organization runs completely on volunteers and parents, and you do it because you love your kids. Little League is very special.”
Matkosky finished his remarks by highlighting what he found to be the
See Ceremonies page 4