While major league baseball players are on spring break, Little League players are just beginning their 2016 season. Canyon Lake Little League and Girls Softball held their opening ceremony and opening games last Saturday, February 27, at Gault Field.
The excitement was evident as teams gathered in full uniform on the field in support of fellow players, coaches, board members, family and other volunteers working so hard to make the season a success for the kids. The snack bar had plenty to offer and Wolfee Donuts had a truck on site, which was very popular!
Storm’s Thunder came out to support the players and fans with his usual antics. A 50/50 drawing worth $265 also was held.
The first game was played following the opening ceremony by the AAA Angels and Dodgers. The final score was Angels 8, Dodgers 4.
Boys and girls ages 4 through 13 make up Canyon Lake Little League, which began in 1996. Many of the players now come from Canyon Hills as well. The League’s objective is to instill in the children of our community the ideals of good sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage and respect for authority, so that they can grow to be decent, healthy and trustworthy citizens. This spring season there are 15 baseball and four softball teams in Canyon Lake.
New to CLLL this season is the 50/70 Intermediate Division for players 11 to 13. According to Melissa Gavin, CLLL Secretary, intermediate baseball field dimensions are, as the name implies, between those of the traditional Little League diamond and a standard baseball diamond. For the Little League Intermediate Baseball Division, there is a pitching distance of 50 feet (traditional LL is 46, standard is 60.6), and the distance between bases is 70 feet (traditional LL is 60, standard is 90).
Canyon Lake Little League is a member of District 28, serving leagues from Canyon Lake, Lake Elsinore, Menifee Valley, Murrieta, Temecula and Temescal Valley. Canyon Lake regularly has Major and Junior teams and all-stars that bring home District and Section Championship banners.
Girls Softball is a member of the American Softball Association. There are three age divisions: 6 and under, 8 and under and 10 and under, playing fast pitch softball. Most of the softball games are played in Tuscany Hills. The website is canyonlakegirlssoftball.com. They also have a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/canyonlakegirlssoftball.
Little League has a long and revered history. It began in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1938, when Carl Stotz, an oil clerk, agreed to a game of catch with his nephews, Jimmy and Harold Gehron, who were too young to play organized baseball. Acting on a promise to find a way for children to play baseball like the major leaguers of the day, Mr. Stotz created a three-team league that would play on a field that was two-thirds the size of a standard baseball field.
After being turned down by 56 local businesses, Mr. Stotz convinced Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber and Jumbo Pretzel to sponsor the boys for $30 per team. The teams were named after their sponsors. On June 6, 1939, the first Little League game was played at Park Point, Williamsport. By 1947 there were 17 teams (all in Pennsylvania), and the first Little League World Series was played in the same location it’s still played today – Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Today there are approximately 2.5 million teams, baseball and softball, around the world. Tens of thousands attend the World Series, and millions around the world watch it on television. Baseball isn’t just an all-American sport anymore.
Organized sports are more than a pastime or a way to stay fit, however. Kids learn socialization skills and, especially when they play for several years, make lasting friendships. They also learn about their community and make life skills such as leadership, respect, listening, time management and how to focus.
Winning and losing helps kids learn both pride and humility. With everyone volunteering, Little League and softball are a great way to bring parents, kids and other family members closer, as evidenced by the many family members that can be found at Gault Field during the season.
For additional information, visit www.CLLL.com or visit their Facebook page. They can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 951-821-6120.
Anyone who would like to help sponsor the league may do so at www.clllca.com/page/show/992298-sponsor-info. Sponsors are what keeps CLLL going.
Games are played on Gault Field, near the East Gate off Longhorn Drive. Everyone is invited to come watch, enjoy the snack bar and cheer the kids!