Members of the Griffith Energy minor league team having some fun at the opening ceremony.
Jeff Pexton MHTS/PGI Photo
A huge parade, recognition of past and present players and volunteers, an instrumental performance of the National Anthem, even a recital of Thayer’s “Casey at The Bat,” were all part of the tradition rich Camden Little League opening ceremonies on Saturday morning.
More than 150 ball players, ranging in age from 5 to 12, lined up at the Camden Elementary School and marched to Camden Yards for this annual right of Spring (even though it felt more like Winter).
With all twenty teams in the baseball and softball divisions lining the infield, first year Camden Little League President, Geoff Ciani, completed a program, which paid tribute to Camden LL alumni, Coady Wines, (who was also a coach), Angelo Gonzalez and Neal Pedersen, who were all tragically killed in automobile accidents in 2013. Members of each young man’s family were on hand for ceremonial first pitches.
The Moore and Fanning families were then honored for the donation of a brand new scoreboard on the major league field.
After the string quartet, All-Star team members from the 2013 season were honored and given pins for their achievements on the field in District 9 last season.
Laurie Jones was honored for her work in creating a softball division for girls within the Camden League, which is now in its seventh season.
Following the recital of the Little League pledge, by all members of the league, Fred Carpenter stepped to the microphone and recited Ernest Thayer’s epic baseball poem “Casey at the Bat” (without even a cue card), all while dressed in an old fashioned baseball uniform and of course a handlebar mustache!
Mr. Carpenter was invited to Camden’s opening ceremonies for the first time several years ago by past President, Dennis Kimball, and is now a staple of the program.
Following the ceremonies, which were also attended by several hundred family members and friends, it was time to play ball and play ball they did.
Four of the five fields at Camden Yards came to life on opening day, with teams in every division of the Camden Little League getting after it.
This season, Camden will also field two teams in “50-70” baseball, which enhances the baseball experience by moving the pitchers mound back to 50 ft. and the bases back to 70 ft., along with the inclusion of leading and stealing bases.
Congratulations once again to Camden Little League for such a nice opening ceremony on Saturday.
Best of luck to all of the players, coaches and volunteers for a great season from My Hometown Sports.