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LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL

Baseball is alive and well in sports capital Rocklin

Tri-City begins its 53rd season
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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If the sun is shining and the skies are clear there is perhaps nothing more appealing that Little League Opening Day on verdant baseball fields. That pretty much described the ceremony held by Tri-City last Saturday.

There had to be more than 1,000 people on hand to greet the 560 ballplayers that ran, skipped and jumped onto the Tri-City Majors field in full uniform. From the teenage Juniors through the Pirates and Marlins in the Challenger Division.

“The future’s very bright,” said Tri-City Board of Directors President Jerry Pierce of Little League overall. “There are a lot of new things. They’re becoming a lot more technological savvy.”

That couldn’t be said for Pierce’s remote microphone, which was apparently having battery problems. However, like others who have held his position, he worked through the problems flawlessly.

There are more than 30 volunteer board members and all have specific jobs. Secretary Sally Jones said Tri-City’s 53-year history has given the organization a lot of experience in dealing with all the issues that surround Little League Baseball; Opening Day ceremonies notwithstanding.

“It takes a very committed team, a very strong and resilient board,” said Pierce as to coordinating such an event. “(It takes) a lot of people who are willing to go above and beyond the normal call of duty to do things as volunteers.”

Treasurer Diana Watkins said Tri-City’s budget for a year of baseball runs about $150,000. But Rocklin sponsorship has been outstanding and the ballplayers alone raised $30,000 in raffle ticket sales leading up to the ceremony. There are almost 60 sponsors listed on Tri-City’s website, tricitylittleleague.com.

There are 42 teams divided into six divisions plus the Challenger Division. Games are played six days a week culminating in the Tournament of Champions that begins in June. Following that, All Stars are selected for the 9-10-year-olds, Majors and Juniors with tournament play beginning in July.

Depending on an All Stars team’s performance, play can extend into August requiring extensive travel.

 “I just want to thank everybody on the board, all the parents, coaches, managers for helping make this such a successful event,” Pierce said. “We’re looking for a great season.”

Little League Baseball produces outstanding talent every year and the games can be as exciting as a World Series. The baseball entertainment is outstanding and admission is free. Grab a hot dog and a soda for a treat that’s as American as apple pie.