Play ball: local youth baseball leagues set to celebrate Opening Day
Youth baseball/softball leagues
Bear River Little League: http://bearriverll.com
Grass Valley Little League: http://grassvalleylittleleague.com
Nevada City Little League: http://nevadacitybaseball.com
Nevada County Girls Softball Association: http://ncgsa.org
Penn Valley Little League: http://www.teamsideline.com/pennvalleyllb
The sound of a hard hit ball, a close play at the plate, a 3-2 count in the bottom of the final inning or a cleanly handled double play likely brings a smile to any ball player’s face.
With the MLB Opening Day still 18 days away, and anticipation building, why not catch some local ball being played right in your own backyard?
Nevada County boasts four little league’s and a girls softball league, all of which offer an Opening Day celebration and plenty of quality baseball/softball to follow.
The Bear River Little league got things started last Saturday with former MLB catcher Matt Walbeck throwing out the first pitch at its Opening Day celebration. This Saturday, the Grass Valley Little League, Penn Valley Little League and Nevada County Girls Softball Association throw out their respective first pitches. Nevada City will hold its Opening Day celebration April 11.
The Nevada County Girls Softball Association gets things going at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Nevada Union with a team parade which will be followed by a couple special guest speakers, including former USA National Team softball player Kelly Jackson and All-American and current professional softball player Courtney Ceo.
“I hope the girls see a female role model from Grass Valley that was able to make it on a national stage,” NCGSA board member Jeremiah DeSart said. “That’s inspirational and let’s the girls know that anything is possible.”
Ceo was a standout at Bear River before attending Oregon University. While at Oregon, Ceo finished with a career batting average of .416 with 15 home runs, 85 RBIs, 52 walks, a .460 on-base percentage, and 65 stolen bases. In her senior season with the Ducks, Ceo led the nation with a .493 batting average, was named the Pac-12 Softball Batting Champion, was a 2014 USA Softball Player of the Year Finalist, 2014 NFCA First Team All-Pacific Region, 2014 NFCA First Team All-American and was First Team Pac-12 All-Conference.
“It’s important that they try their best and never give up on their dreams,” DeSart said of the young softball players that play in the NCGSA. “The only limitations you have are the ones you put on yourself.”
In addition to the team parade and speeches from accomplished softball players, the NCGSA Opening Day will feature a Hit-A-Thon by current players, food from the snack shack and a “Hit the Bucket” game open to all attendees. DeSart said the league hopes to put on a carnival like atmosphere at Opening Day, something that will be fun for all those who attend.
“We have a challenging and unique opportunity,” DeSart said of organizing a league that pulls from all regions of the county. “Girls who don’t know each other come together and learn the game of softball, learn teamwork, and its a great opportunity for all involved.”
The Penn Valley Little League will be getting its show on the road at 7 a.m. Saturday with a pancake breakfast held at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley. At 11 a.m. the team parade begins and games will get started at 1 p.m.
PVLL president Rob Flecksteiner said he hopes to provide a full day of fun and baseball for all ages at their Opening Day, noting they will have some carnival style games for people to enjoy when their attention isn’t on the field.
“I hope that we can teach the kids the game of baseball, teach them teamwork, good sportsmanship and hopefully have them come back year after year,” said Flecksteiner, who helps to build the Penn Valley Little League up in numbers.
Grass Valley’s Opening day is at Condon Park in Grass Valley and gets started at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with a Hit-A-Thon which is followed by the team parade at 11:30 a.m. Games get started at 1 p.m. and carry on through the afternoon and evening.
“Grass Valley Little League looks forward to another great baseball season,” said GVLL vice president Jim Amaral. “We also want to extend a gracious thank you to all of our sponsors, donators, and volunteers. Grass Valley Little League has been so lucky to have such great community support. Without their support, our League would not be as near as successful. We invite the community to head down to Condon Park and enjoy a baseball game on behalf of Grass Valley Little League. Play ball!”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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