The spring season is just around the corner and that means one thing for some area baseball lovers, Coconut Creek Little League will soon be in full swing.
Saturday, March 7, opening day celebrations commence for the City of Coconut Creek’s recreational baseball program, which was incorporated in 1998, and the league will welcome players of various abilities.
“We spend a lot of time focusing on all of our kids in the program; from the youngest, entry level player to the older, more experienced one, we emphasize on making it a great baseball environment,” Coconut Creek Little League President Ed Hammel said. “I always tell the kids the same thing when they ask me the score, and that consists of, ‘did you have fun?’ If they answer yes, then we’ve all won and that way of open-minded, positive thinking has become the main focus of our program.”
Approximately 300 players, dispersed among the league’s six different age divisions, play at Sabal Pines Park, Gerber Park and Lyons Creek Middle School over the next few months.
The Coconut Creek Little League season runs until about mid-May, followed by playoffs, select teams and all-stars. This year, the league’s age groups include t-ball for ages 4 to 6, machine/coach pitch for ages 7 and 8, minors for ages 9 to 11, 50/70 for ages 11 to 13, juniors for ages 13 and 14, and seniors for ages 15 and 16.
One of this year’s 50/70 team managers says he takes a look at the bigger picture and what he feels baseball instills in the players.
“Every year, I tell my players’ parents [about] my coaching philosophy and expectations to work as a team, not to quit or blame someone else because of a mistake, and to learn how to overcome failure,” Manager of the Coconut Creek Little League 50/70 Astros team, David Singleton, said. “I think baseball makes players behave and become better adults because of it.”
Regardless of win and loss records, playoff schedules or all-star titles, according to Hammel, none of the league’s operations would exist without the people behind the scenes.
“We have so many volunteers who offer their time to coach, umpire and help out on the Board of Directors,” Hammel said. “It’s truly all of the volunteers who help our kids learn about what it means to give back to the community, have a fun opportunity in which to learn how to play baseball and understand the true meaning of sportsmanship.”
Hammel also noted that the players’ baseball futures do not necessarily take priority during Little League play, however, if the organization can help to round out their upcoming academic or business ventures, then that adds to the whole experience.
“We want our kids to grow in and from our program and not necessarily focus on making the major leagues, but if that mindset can help them to play for their high school team and get them into college, then that’s great,” Hammel added.
Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel