After a long and cold winter, it was finally time for baseball. On April 21, Jefferson Township Youth Baseball had its annual opening day for young ballplayers in the Cal Ripken Baseball League. The event was held at Lakeside Field on Route 15.
Hot dogs were provided by Paul and Christa’s Diner. There was a blow-up obstacle course for the kids to jump and ravage through, and some carnival games where they could compete against each other and win prizes. “Opening day is fun. It gives you time to hang out with your teammates,” sixth-grader Billy Kuhl told The Jefferson Chronicle.
The event included a parade. Each team walked out onto the turf field carrying a homemade banner with the team members’ names on it so that parents could take pictures of their children. After the teams had trotted around the field, they lined up and sprinted through the banners, which made for some laugh-out-loud moments.
Coach Shawn Cooney, vice president of the Cal Ripken League, announced the event. “This is my second year announcing, and I love it,” Cooney told The Chronicle.
Although many people seem to believe that youth baseball is dying due to the game’s slow pace, Jefferson Township Youth Baseball president Lori Buntzen stated, “This thriving baseball program has been growing rapidly.” There are 28 teams with about 310 players in total.
“The goal this year was to focus not on what we can’t do, but on what we can do – make baseball the best Jefferson sports organization,” Buntzen told The Chronicle.
Following the parade, players got free hot dogs and were invited to play fun games until the thrilling baseball games began at 4:00. The event gets bigger and better each year, and does not show signs of slowing down anytime in the near future.