March 18, 2011 > Batter Up!
Clear skies and balmy weather greeted bright-eyed Tee-Ball youngsters and "veteran" ballplayers on Opening Day, Saturday, March 12, at the Centerville National baseball diamonds behind Patterson Elementary School in Fremont. A parade of teams led by the American High School Marching Band entered the big league field and officially welcomed the 2011 season.
Little League Baseball is divided into several age divisions for participating boys and girls beginning with Tee Ball for ages 5-6 years and progressing through Minor League, a 9-10 year old Tournament Program, Major Division, Pilot Division, Junior League, Senior League and finally Big League for players ages 16-18 years old. The season culminates as eight separate International World Series tournaments (each for a different division) are played in August.
Forming a semicircle around the infield, excited Centerville National League players cheered and listened to speeches acknowledging the efforts of sponsors and a host of volunteers - coaches, team moms, umpires, snack bar, field crew, equipment, uniforms and many others - who make the American pastime of Little League Baseball a reality each year. At the conclusion of opening ceremonies, a line quickly formed, waiting for pancakes to cook on the griddle and a chance to sit at the wheel of a nearby fire truck.
A couple of hours later Little League Baseball, an American tradition since 1939, was back for another season. It was time to hear umpires begin games with the shout, "Play Ball!"
Similar ceremonies were held or are planned this weekend throughout the Southeast Bay Area in District 14 (Newark National, Newark American, Fremont American, Centerville American, Centerville National, Mission San Jose, Niles-Centerville and Warm Springs); District 45 (Ashland, Castro Valley) and District 59 (Milpitas National).