By GABRIELLE SHIOZAWA
Moapa Valley Progress
Baseball on a foggy day is all about hit and mist. So it’s a good thing that the sky was clear and bright early on Saturday morning for the opening day of Moapa Valley Little League.
Young ballplayers donned new uniforms and eager expressions as they gathered with coaches and families at the Logandale Sports Complex ballfields to start off the new season.
Little League Baseball was brought to Moapa Valley in the early 2000s by Jess Campbell and longstanding League president Gene Houston after a Parks and Rec baseball program proved insufficient for the community’s needs. The number of teams and participants has steadily grown in recent years. In 2011, 22 teams and about 230 participants made up the MV Little League—but that’s just a ballpark number. This year’s lineup includes 34 teams and more than 375 kids.
Right off the bat on Saturday, the various teams, ranging from T-ball and coach pitch to softball and baseball, lined up around the baseball diamond. Local Boy Scouts performed a flag ceremony and led the community in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Sage Overson, a 13-year-old player for the “Bat Crazy” softball team, proved that she has mastered pitch in more ways than one. She awed the audience with her performance of the national anthem.
Next, Little League District 2 president Robert Fleming addressed the crowd, expressing his appreciation for a “community supporting youth in their endeavors to learn and become future leaders.” Fleming recognized the sacrifices of the board members and volunteer coaches who contribute to the Little League program.
“Everybody you see out here are volunteers,” Fleming said.
Before throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the season to 12-year-old catcher Aiden Johnson, Fleming led the baseball teams in the Little League Pledge: “I trust in God. I love my country, and I will respect its laws. I will play fair and strive to win. But, win or lose, I will always do my best.”
The rest of the day was filled with an exciting series of baseball and softball games. A table of Little League hats and shirts was set up for sale, and the concession stand was in full swing.
“I’m looking forward to a good season without any drama,” commented MV Little League president Gene Houston. “The kids will go out and play ball and learn new skills, and the parents will help them and enjoy watching them, and everybody will have a good time.”
The opening day was a home-run for the local Little League teams, and the rest of the season will surely be just as big of a hit.