By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
It’s finally spring. Hopefully.
Mother Nature finally delivered some decent weather Saturday as Goshen Little League held its Opening Day ceremonies for the 2013 season.
More than 600 boys and girls are playing baseball and softball in Goshen this season, according to Goshen Little League president Perry Haimes.
And while other area leagues have struggled and lost players the past few seasons, Haimes said, Goshen has held its own and even grown some.
“That couldn’t happen without our volunteers,” Haimes said.
Those volunteers do everything from coach the teams, to maintain the fields, to umpire the games, to work in the concession stands.
“It takes a lot of people to make this work,” Haimes said. “We’ve worked very hard to keep our league affordable.”
Volunteers are always welcome, Haimes said — especially in umpiring. Haimes said he was on the phone until after 11 p.m. Friday night covering all of Saturday’s Opening Day games.
It’s the dedication of a committed board and cadre of volunteers, Haimes said, that has allowed Goshen Little League to not only survive, but continue to flourish these past few years in a challenging economic environment.
Another key, Haimes said, has been a spirit of cooperation with area travel baseball programs.
Travel programs can sometimes hurt Little League programs, by siphoning off some of the best players. But Haimes said there has been very little of that here locally.
“We have done a good job of working together and encouraging kids to play both,” Haimes said.
Goshen Little League provides a family experience that is hard to top — and one mom out to support her child on Saturday was Tina Jones of Goshen, who was taking advantage of a pleasant spring day to watch her 11-year-old son Rocky play.
Rocky, Jones said, has been in Goshen Little League since 2005, when he started in T-ball.
“It’s a great thing for us to do with the entire family,” Jones said.
The baseball season, Jones added, it more hectic than some of the other youth sports seasons her child is involved in. Rocky also plays basketball and football and is involved in track.
“For us, it’s about being together, working togetgher and supporting each other,” Jones said.
Ainsley Cain, 10, has been playing softball for the past several years.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Ainsley said. “I lke being out here with my friends and having a good time.”
Ainsley said she would like to play high school softball some day.