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Edgartown, Massachusetts
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May 31, 2013     Vineyard Gazette
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TWO VINEYARD GAZETTE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS. FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2013 Tee Ball coach Jenny Royal helps Joseph Medeiros line up his swing. Catching the Little League Fever From Page One-A ing up in Ohio. His wife signed him up to coach Tee Ball three years ago, when son Henry was old enough to play. Coaching Little League has been a dream of his tbr years, he said. "I've been moving up with the kids," Mr. Shank said. "I'll probably just keep following it up." After Farm I.eague, players move to the Minor I.eagues, where kids learn to pitch, and the game becomes more competitive. Once they are nine, they can try out tbr the Major Leagues. Most Major Leaguers are 10, 11 and 12. "The best part of being invoh'ed from the beginning is you get to see the continuity of maybe having coached kids at the Tee Ball level, and then you pass them off to the high school coaches," said IJttle League president Lorne Lewis, whose three sons have all gone through the youth program. In its long history, Little League has seen a fair share of daughters take the field as well. Unlike many youth sports, the program is co-ed. There are more girls at the Tee Ball and Farm League levels, but some move right up into travel ball before they start softball at the high school. Emily Turney, the only freshman on the varsity softball team this year, was a Little League All-Star when she was younger. This year, three girls plw in the Majors and seven plw in the Minors. "[The bws] have been playing with them on their team since Tee Ball," Mr. Bresnick said. "I like that aspect of it." He was hard pressed to decide on his favorite aspect of Little League. "I could talk for hours about that," he said. "It's timeless, and the kids just have fun." Mr. Lukowitz and Mr. Chaves both spoke of the constant surprises in watching players improve year after year. Mr. Chaves recalled a player he'd coached in the Minor Leagues who was a baseball late bloomer. "If you'd asked me then would he be a high school baseball player, I probably would have said absolutely not," Mr. Chaves said. The plwer became a two-year start- ing catcher on the varsity team. And the reverse can happen, too. A standout Little League player moving up to the Babe Ruth level can get caught offguard as the game becomes a more mental exercise. "It requires a lot of thought," Mr. Chaves said. "You can't hide. When the ball comes to you, everyone's watching," Mr. Bresn- HAPPY BREAKFAST TO YOU 7 DAYS 8-11 AM 56 North Water Street 508-627-4794 .,':(: Nicholas Rabeni scoops up the ball. ick said. Sometimes you do great things, head coach Gary Simmons. he said, and sometimes you don't. In "I love it," Jack said of the sport. "It's either case, the way a player learns to a team sport, but it's also individual." handle the aftermath is a valuable life On a recent Saturday, both elements lesson, were on display during a game between Recent standouts of the youth pro- the Pirates and A1s in the Major Leagues. gram include Will Stewart, last year's The game was close, with both teams top pitcher on the high school team, pulling off three-run rallies, and the and Jack Roberts, a senior captain of victory ultimately coming down to the this year's team. Jack will play for the very last out. The won. Martha's Vineyard Sharks this summer, :"I just love feeling all that pressure," and for Williams College in the fall. player Mikey Cosgrave gaid'at'tN-':th "When it culminates in a kid going to ' game. ......, , . Williams, that's nice," said Sam Berlo a; "I don't care what happens during the who worked with Jack throughout Little game, teammate Avery Villegas said. League and now assists high school 'As long as I'm on the field." The On Main TWO for ONE Entr&s every Thursday, Friday, & Saturday Serving Dinner Monday - Saturday from 5:30pm Chef~Owner Antonio Saccoccia 508-627-8344 227 Upper Main Street, Edgartown Plenty of Parking www.thegrillonmain.com OPEN FOR BREAKFAST AND LUNCH Monday- Saturday 8:30am - 2:30pm SUNDAY BRUNCH A GRENIEF French Bistro 8:30am - 2:30pm DINNER NIGHTLY 5:30pm - 9:00pm Diagram of proposed ) / / ~a,..u ............................... "a: [ Penn Field to be located in Oak Bluffs. New Field Planned for Travel By For Vineyard Little Leaguers, tournament play is a mainstay of the summer when travel teams of All-Stars compete across the Cape each week. Beginning next year, as work progresses on the organization's Penn Field project in Oak Bluffs, the Vineyard may at last be able to compete as a home team during the summer. "On the Vineyard, it's always been that we go off-Island for every tourna- ment," said Phil Regan, whose twin sons Jared and Jeremy play for the All-Star team in the summer and the Red Sox during the Little League regular season. Mr. Regan works at Hutker Architects and is the coordinator for the Penn Field project. He previously worked on the Field of Dreams project at the regional high school, which culminated in the facility where the high school team and the Martha's Vineyard Sharks play. In order for a Little League organization to host tournaments they must have use of two legitimate fields, Mr. Regan said. The Veira Park and Penn Field facilities would satisfy that requirement. Penn Field includes one game field and a smaller practice field, with a park- ing area set well out of the way of errant fly balls. The property was seeded last Fall. John Keene of John Keene Excavation donated the labor to clear the access road and regrade the site. Mr. Keene was then hired by Little League to bring in soil -- about 2,200 cubic yards of topsoil in total. "This summer we hope to get [irrigation] complete, and by spring 2014 we'll IVY ASHE have a solid playing surface," Mr. Regan said. Dugouts, a weather shelter, fencing and a scoreboard will be the finishing touches. "You've got to let the grass settle in...for a year or two," Mr. Regan said. That wa); "hops" in the playing surface can be avoided. At the Oak Bluffs annual town meeting in 2008, residents voted to allow Little League to use half of a piece of town-owned property behind the waste- water treatment plant. A warrant article on the special town meeting warrant allocated the earmarked Veira Park funds to the Penn Field facility. Based on his experiences working at the high school field, Mr. Regan esti- mated early on that the project would end up costing around $400,000, much more than what was provided by the CPA funds. "The goal this summer is to approach the other towns," Mr. Regan said. "CPA legislation changed to allow regional funding." Martha's Vineyard Little League also received a $5,000 grant from the Perma- nent Endowment Fund earlier this year, and a similar grant from Farm Neck. And they have turned to their own funds to kickstart the project, largely money raised through the annual magnet fundraiser and banner advertising at Veira Park. "What we decided is we would raise some money of our own, that we had banked, and get this going," Mr. Regan said. "It's really a community collabora- tion, and that's what Little League is all about." Voted Best II t Dinner Restaurant I Martha's Vinsy~d Magazine I I [1 Reservations Suggested. 96 Main Street, Vineyard Haven. 508-693-4906/I 1| daily Daily Luneh Specials Fresh Made Soups Garden Seating Beer Wine 6:30am - 6pro edgartown espressolove.eorn 508-627-9211 WATERsT '~ :"': " JOIN US FOR SUNDAY BRUNCH :: : SliiA: ..... 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