The Beth-Wood Baseball League opened the ball season Saturday, April 28, with a brief ceremony on the gazebo green, complete with hot dogs and music and first team practices.
“We got sun today — time to play ball,” league president Dwight Rowland cheered. He thanked coaches, managers and all those serving on the board. “They work year-round” to organize the league and make things happen for the young players. But that Saturday morning the long winter had finally come to an end and spring was in the air.
Rowland also thanked Adam Parsons from the Woodbridge Parks Department, who makes sure all the fields are in good shape and safe to play on. “It looks like Yankee Stadium up there,” Rowland said of the Acorn Hill fields.
A special round of applause went to the volunteer fire fighters, who cooked and served hot dogs while the youngsters were practicing their tosses. The fire department had been called out to a house fire the night before, Rowland said, but even so didn’t miss a beat for the opening day.
Master of ceremonies was Ryan Errico, who greeted the crowd as well as special guests, state Reps. Themis Klarides and Lezlye Zupkus, state Senator George Logan, Beecher Road School Principal Gina Prisco and First Selectman Beth Heller. Klarides took a short poll of what the Big Team allegiances were in the crowd – Yankees? Red Socks? Mets? It got pretty loud as fans cheered for their team.
Klarides pointed out the one word that was printed on the back of Errico’s jersey — RESPECT. n“Everybody likes to win; I like to win, too,” she said to the children, “But the most important thing is …. RESPECT.”
Zupkus quoted Babe Ruth, who said, “I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big.”
Heller also remembered a quote attributed to Babe Ruth, that baseball was the best game in the world.
Senator George Logan remembered playing ball when he was growing up. “I made lots of good friends,” he said.
Principal Prisco reminded the kids that “you are all part of a team.”
Evie Ohara gave a beautiful rendering of the National Anthem, and the children stood listening quietly while she sang. The Dodgers led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the special guests threw the ceremonial first pitch and the season was officially under way.
- The sun came in out just in time for the official opening of baseball season April 28 in Woodbridge. The Volunteer Fire Association helped celebrate this tradition by serving hot dogs and providing the highest flagpole in town.
- Special guests, from left, Rep. Themis Klarides, Rep. Lezlye Zupkus, First Selectman Beth Heller, Beecher Road School Principal Gina Prisco and vocalist Edie Ohara perform the ceremonial pitch which officially opens baseball season in Woodbridge.
- When the ceremonial part was over, League President Dwight Rowland threw water bottles into the crowd. They were a hot item.
- Young players are standing while Evie Ohara sings the National Anthem
- The Dodgers led the Pledge of Allegiance at opening day ceremonies on the gazebo green.
- Young players listen attentively while the Dodgers lead them in the Pledge of Allegiance.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent