I trust in God, I love my country and will respect its laws. I will play fair and strive to win, but win or lose I will always do my best.
With these words, recited by the Reign’s Erica Hurtte, Attack’s Riley Stadt and the Blitz’ Mayah Russell at Adair Kennedy Baseball Field on Saturday, the Gastineau Channel Little League opened the 2012 little league baseball and softball seasons.
“It’s fun,” Sam Hall, a flag bearer and Mariners player said. “I am looking forward to our first game against the Phillies. Today. I predict we will have fun.”
Standing next to him was an opponent from some point in the season.
“Playing other teams,” the A’s Shafer Suzuki said. “And when you catch the ball.”
Added Hurtte, “You get to play with your friends. That is fun.”
Sierra Lloyd sang the national anthem and her voice carried even farther as others mouthed her words from every corner of Adair Kennedy.
Over 560 players on 48 teams in 11 divisions are scheduled to play this season among fields spread throughout the Juneau area.
The season nearly suffered its first casualty as A’s catcher Zeb Storie had to spring to the left to track down Governor Sean Parnell’s opening day pitch. That was followed by Eva Tompkins blocking his second pitch in the dirt.
“I think I used all the good pitches in practice,” Parnell said. “I just love being out here with the young people.”
Parnell then stated what he remembered of little league.
“The fun summer days of playing as a team and learning about teamwork and competition,” Parnell said. “Just having so many hours of fun outside. The sportsmanship and looking out for others on the team. It was the high light of my summer. It taught some great values and was a lot of fun.”
As players left the field they had a common theme.
“Hitting and catching,” Ike Puustinen said as he walked carrying a baseball glove almost as big as himself. “I am pretty good at hitting. I am going to have fun this year.”