The boys of summer are starting play in the spring as the North Big Horn Little League program kicks off the 2013 season with festivities and games Saturday at the Northeast Little League Baseball Complex.
According to League President Doug Arnold, the busy day will begin with the first of six team photos at 8 a.m., and the Majors hitting challenge begins at 8:30, followed by the Minors hitting challenge at 9 a.m.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and will include a flag raising, the pledge of allegiance, the recitation of the Little League Pledge, the National Anthem and welcoming remarks.
The first pitch ceremony is set for 10:45 a.m., followed by the first game of the season featuring the Major League Diamondbacks against a Powell team at 11 a.m.
Once that game is under way, the Minor League Dodgers will meet the Red Sox at 11:30, and hungry parents and fans can start enjoying the hamburger grand slam deal at that time.
A parent/coach hitting challenge will begin at 1 p.m. with a $10 buy-in, and the second majors and minors games will begin at 2 p.m. featuring the Major League Cardinals against a Powell team and the Minor League Phillies taking on the Tigers.
T-ball and coach pitch teams will have their own opening day activities on Saturday, May 18, Arnold said.
There are 18 Little League teams formed this spring, Arnold said: two Major League teams, four Minor League teams, six coach pitch teams and six T-ball teams.
Low area numbers in the 11-12-year-old age group has resulted in only two Major League teams this season, Arnold said: the Ink Spot Cardinals, coached by Jason Sumaya, and the Bank of Lovell Diamondbacks, coached by Keith McIntosh.
“We have a big group of 10s, 9s and 8s coming up behind ‘em,” Arnold said. “We see the league growing, not just numbers but also skill-wise. We knew this would be the case when we started two years ago.”
Arnold said the Cards and D’backs will play each other “regularly” and will also play home-and-away games against Powell and Burlington-Otto squads.
“We’ll probably play four to six games with Powell and two to four with Burlington-Otto,” Arnold said. “It will be a 16-game schedule that will conclude the week of Mustang Days with an interleague tournament in Powell. The Minors tournament will be in Lovell this year.”
The four Minor League teams (8-10-year-olds) are the 4N Trucking Phillies, coached by Dan Toner, the Minchow’s Service Dodgers, coached by Ryan Mangus, the Mountain Construction Red Sox, coached by Todd Herman and Jen McArthur, and the Cowley Lumber Tigers, coached by Larry Woodington. The teams will play each other and teams from Powell and Burlington-Otto.
Coach pitch teams are more closely aligned with the Minors program this season, Arnold said, sharing rules for a maximum five runs per inning and others. Teams are the Mountain Construction Bats, coached by Marie McCollam, the Lovell Redi Mix Bulls, coached by Shem McArthur and Kelly Spann, the TCT River Cats, coached by Charlie Cooley and Doug Arnold, the Yellowstone Chiropractic Lug Nuts, coached by Shang Clendenen and Jared Jarrett, the State Farm/MDU Express, coached by Ryan Felkins, and the Midway Auto Hot Rods, coached by Shane Walker.
T-ball teams are Big Horn Federal Knights, coached by Donna Booth, the Big Horn Engraving Volcanoes, coached by Jessica Jarrett, Jenny Christiansen and Megan Wilson, the Nordenstam Masonry Sand Gnats, coached by Josh Collins and Josh Sponsel, the Bairco Thunder, coached by Gerry Burton, the Mountain Valley Homes Storm, coached by Devon Parks, and the Lovell Building Center Timber Rattlers, coached by Chris Edwards.
Arnold said there have also been discussions about a 50-70 team – 50-foot mound and 70-foot base paths — forming for 12- and 13-year-olds as a transition between Little League and Babe Ruth baseball, but there is nothing definite at this time.
By David Peck