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As the red buds have faded and the scent of lilacs have waned, the oaks, locust and walnuts have sprouted their leaves again, it can only mean one thing at the John T. Ray Complex in Robert Westrick Memorial Park.
That one thing is the sound from the umpire… “play ball” and America’s pastime, like the bird to the wing, takes flight again. Yes baseball… and children from ages 3 to 12 take the fields at the county park, over 300 strong with gloves, balls and bats in their hands and arms.
The 2010 season has begun. Yes, opening day, May 15, was a great and glorious day, starting with the National Anthem sung with passion and love by Vanessa Birchfield followed by the ceremonial first pitches.
On field 1, the first pitch was thrown by Thomas Harr and caught by Peyton Devine, in loving memory of Nicholas Harr. On field 2, the first pitch was thrown by Austin Dunn and caught by Darren Dunn, in loving memory of Quenten Dunn. On field 3, the first pitch was thrown by Ron Gillespie and caught by Jaxon Hewitt, in loving memory of Benjamin Gardner. And then the games commenced.
I would like to thank everyone who came out to support the children of Carroll County and also those coaches and sponsors who made this possible: Deanie Miller of the Miller’s Auto Sales Reds, David Arvin of the Carrollton Chiropractic Cubs, Nicholas Marsh of the Monk and Marsh P.S.C. Mariners, John and Jamie Battaglia of the Craig’s Rental Center A’s, Tish Hatton of the Gallatin Steel Pirates, Parker Howard of the North American Stainless Orioles, Jennifer Kemper of the Family Worship Center Rockies, Charles Wilson of the Mark Smith State Farm White Sox, Bradley Tuttle of the North American Stainless Pirates, Torie Hewitt of the Cummings Towing Mets, Summer Young of The Cellular Connection Blue Jays, Chris Melton of the Searcy Monument Co. White Sox, Shannon McAlister of the McAlister Concrete Yankees, Jason Devine of the Murphy U.S.A. Cardinals, Bobbie Jones of the Gallatin Steel A’s, Tony Watts of the River Valley Financial Bank Mariners, Parker Howard of the North American Stainless Orioles, Shawn and Victoria Stephenson of the Murphy U.S.A. Yankees, Ron Dietz of The Scott’s Company Reds, Steven Kincaid of the Taco Bell Mariners, Allen Supplee of the First National Bank Pirates, Ricky McMahan of the Fillin’ The Blank Custom Printing and Embroidery Reds, Marty McIntyre of the North American Stainless A’s, Rob Wilson of the Facilities Performance Group Pirates, Angie Searcy of the 8U North American Stainless Panthers, Michael Dermon of the 10U North American Stainless Panthers and Chris McMillan of the North American Stainless Pirates, umpires, contributors, the Carroll County Fiscal Court, grounds keepers, Mark Willhoite, Travis Snow and Jordan Gibson. A special thanks to Chris McMillan for his invaluable help in building the mounds, Chris Bartley and Ohio Valley Asphalt for crowing fields 1 and 3, Luhn and Oak for use of their compactor and Kim Williamson and her crew for running the concession stand (by the way, all proceeds go to charity). Thanks Kim and crew. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the folks that keep the county park looking so great and help in many ways. Thanks to Eddie Mefford, Richard McMahan, James Marsh and Famous Amos.
Remember this is for the kids to learn and have fun, so enjoy the season each and every one.
Mike Battaglia Parks and Recreation Director