One of the longest standing sporting traditions in Juneau starts anew Saturday as the Gastineau Channel Little League launches its season.
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After being delayed a week due to the snow, opening ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. "Honoring our Volunteers" will serve as this year's theme to the opening ceremonies.
"Last week Adair-Kennedy had probably two feet of snow," league President Sheldon Winters said. "A good example of volunteers is scores of kids at the baseball and softball fields shoveling snow. The volunteers did an amazing job and are ready to go Saturday."
Saturday's opening ceremonies will feature players from ages 5 to 16. All past and present volunteers and Little League coaches, parents and players are invited.
Teams will march into the field and say the Little League pledge. Also, Gov. Sarah Palin is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The theme of honoring volunteers is especially apt for Little League, which depends on community help.
"We're 100 percent reliant on them," Winters said. "The numbers are mindboggling. There's so much involved for even getting ready.
"There are 600 plus kids, with uniforms and 50 plus teams. All the preparation stuff in terms of hours, I estimated that the board of directors puts in close to 2,500 hours to get prepared. There are 180 coaches putting in approximately 25,000 hours in the next two month. That's just the coaches."
The league feature 11 divisions in baseball, softball and tee ball. There also will be a new division this year, Triple A, for players in between the Minor and Major league divisions.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.