Photos by Sean Roney
Above, the teams of Greenfield Little League gather for a portrait. Below, Derick Barajas (right) completes the first run for the Astros against the Rangers during the opening games for Greenfield Little League. The farm team contest would eventually go in the Rangers’ favor, 9-8.
BY SEAN RONEY
FOR GREENFIELD NEWS
GREENFIELD — Greenfield Little League players kicked off their baseball season with their opening ceremonies this past Saturday.
The main baseball field at Patriot Park was filled with players in their bright and colorful uniforms as seven tee ball teams, four farm teams, four minors teams, six majors teams, and one juniors team participated in the opening parade of teams before a gathered crowd of parents and supporters.
“We don’t get these years back, so it’s wonderful that this program brings families and friends together,” said League President Stephanie Garcia.
The program has been going on for 66 years, and this season sees not only improvements to the fields, upgrades to the announcer’s booth, restrooms, and concession stand, but continued experience for the youth of the city.
Garcia said, “I think one of the best things that we all experience after having coached and cheered so many of these players over the years is that we can all sit down and watch any game at any given time and root for every single player on that field. This truly is our town, our team.”
Raul Morales represented both Azcona Harvesting and SoMoCo Labor as he took to the pitcher’s mound to throw the first pitch, which was caught by Malcolm Bautista. The national anthem was performed by Celestina Ripley.
Garcia noted the time spent by coaches and volunteers to help make the league run smoothly.
“Everyone has a busy life these days,” she said. “These people find the time to coach your child’s practices and games. Many of whom who have done so year after year.”
She noted there were too many individuals, organizations and businesses to name, as so many have contributed to the league, which she said, “teaches the players responsibility, leadership, sportsmanship and teamwork.”
Fundraiser Chairwoman Jessica Madrid Bautista noted the fundraising goal for the season was at $25,000, with $20,500 already raised in sponsorships and donations. The hit-a-thon fundraiser brought in $3,000, and the candy apple sales were still pending. She explained the funds help the players by going to field improvements and equipment purchases, saying, “In the last few months we spent approximately $10,000 on three fields. Most of it was on dirt, believe it or not.”
To the parents and players gathered, Bautista said, “I can’t thank the businesses in our community enough. They have stepped up and really supported you guys.”
In addition to the cerebrations, a moment was taken to remember Johnny Garza, who passed away in November.
“Johnny loved the game of baseball,” said Garcia. “Starting at a very young age and played in every single season with Greenfield Little League, starting with tee ball, farm, minors, majors, and then went on to play pony league, followed by four more years of baseball with Greenfield High School. Two years ago, he volunteered for Greenfield Little League as an assistant coach for one of our minors teams.”
One game on opening day was postponed because of rain, the game between the minors A’s and Angels. Farm team scores were Twins winning against the Royals, 13-12, and the White Sox defeating the Tigers, 6-3. The minors game saw the Rangers prevailing over the Astros, 9-8. In the majors, the Rockies topped the Dodgers, 10-0, and the Giants overtook the Padres, 9-2. The Greenfield juniors team was toppled by the visiting Salinas Atlantic team, 17-3.