Little kids, big games:  Sunny opening day a home run for Cocalico Youth Baseball

By on April 20, 2016

 

The Cocalico Youth Baseball Organization held its 15th annual Little League opening at Reamstown Memorial Park on Saturday.

Photos by Michele Walter Fry U12 team coached by Dennis Wilczek does the "Nab?" dance move.

Photos by Michele Walter Fry
U12 team coached by Dennis Wilczek does the “Nab?” dance move.

Some 280 kids, ages five to 14, enjoyed perfect weather for the event.

“This is a non-profit organization which is good for kids,” said Tom Laudenslager, board member. “We don’t turn anyone down. If someone says they have a financial hardship, we help them out. It’s never too late to play. We want to do well and we compete, but we work with them.

“We have different levels of play. We have kids come in at a later age all the time.”

From left, player Trystan Moore and Y102 personality Craig Stevens stand at attention as Abbie Lesher sings The Star-Spangled Banner.

From left, player Trystan Moore and Y102 personality Craig Stevens stand at attention as Abbie Lesher sings The Star-Spangled Banner.

The day was upbeat with Y102’s live broadcast sponsored by Vertex Mechanical from Stevens. Vertex also hosts a Cocalico sports night for the organization at the Reading Fightin Phils.

“Vertex provides us with tickets that we charge $5 for and our kids get to go out in the field and warm-up with the Phils,” said Laudenslager.

Abbie Lesher, 8, stellarly sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and Trystan Moore caught the first pitch thrown by Chet Clair.

“I was glad to catch the first pitch,” said Moore. “It’s meaningful because I’ve been playing baseball for a long time.”

Clair represented the Reamstown Athletic Association.

Coylan Gentry, No. 7, is ready to run.

Coylan Gentry, No. 7, is ready to run.

“He’s (Moore) going to sign this ball right here and then it goes to the Reamstown Rec Center and will stay there forever along with the other balls I threw out,” said Clair.

Clair volunteers his time doing maintenance and electrical work for the park.

“Money isn’t everything,” he said.

Money does mean something to the organization as the Reamstown Athletic Association was one of the highest Gold sponsors this year to the baseball organization.

Sharing space on a base during T-ball.

Sharing space on a base during T-ball.

Andrew Youndt, a freshman at Cocalico High School, led around Change Up, the turtle mascot for the Reading Fightin Phils. Change Up kept photo bombing team photos and Youndt had to keep him out of trouble.

Some of the teams played against other Cocalico teams for opening weekend, but Kolton Martin had a one-walk game pitching performance in his first game where his U12 team won 9-2 against Strasburg Willow Street.

“It’s great interacting with my teammates while playing America’s greatest pastime,” said Owen Wilczek, a Reamstown Elementary student and a teammate of Martin.

This year’s extended winter weather made it difficult for teams to practice.

“The weather hasn’t been cooperative and it set us back a bit,” said coach Rich Germer. “It’s nice to have baseball weather today.

“I’m looking forward to the kids doing it live instead of practice and watching them develop throughout the season and seeing them have a lot of fun.”

Gold Sponsors of the organization are: Agway, Ambassador Advisors, Austin Electric, Blaise Alexander Ford, County Line Mechanical, Dairy Queen of Ephrata, Heck Construction, JSL Mechanical, Lesher CPA, Reamstown Athletic Association, Reinholds VFW, and Vertex Mechanical.

Michele Walter Fry welcomes your comments at michelewalterfry@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *