Cal Ripken jamboree scores a grand slam

Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Makenzie Walls takes off for first base after slamming a base hit for Southern Fence.

The Cal Ripken youth baseball league kicked off their inaugural season in Lewisburg with a bang on Saturday at the Richard Cashion Complex on Spring Place Road as the Minor League Division held the season-opening Jamboree.

There is no sport that serenades the sounds of spring in a manner that can equally match that of youth league baseball and softball. The warm April day brought the players and patrons of the league out in record numbers to witness the sounds, sights, and smells of the ballpark.

That first aluminum bat ding from a young player swatting at a coach pitch, the joyful yells and screams of a parent or relative of a young boy or girl running to first base, the glorious celebration of crossing home plate for the first time in a young life are all unforgettable moments to cherish.

The smell of hot dogs and bubble gum and burgers cooking on the grill are just too good too resist.

The sport is and always has been for the kids and the recent change of affiliations is largely an unseen blip in the radar to those with gloves, helmets, and bats.

League president Bobby Hurt has seen many changes over the years and said about the recent switch from Little League to Cal Ripken, "I really don't see any difference in it. These kids are just as enthusiastic to play as they have been for all the years I have been here. They are going to come and play ball no matter what we call it."

Hurt added, "So far things are going pretty good. We will just have to see how things work out in the end."

Hurt noted that over 820 kids have signed up for the league this season, slightly over the numbers from last year.

The Marshall County Cal Ripken League will hold the Major league Jamboree Saturday and then a full slate of games, five days a week in all age divisions from 4 to 12 years old will begin Monday and run all the way into late July.

The new Ripken league has been awarded the nine year old boys regional all-star tournament, beginning July 23. Over 20 teams from 10 states will participate in the all-star event at the Cashion Complex.

Other all star events are in the planning stages and will be announced when plans are finalized.