Opening Day for La Jolla Youth Baseball feels like a reunion. All 400 kids have a game at Cliffridge Park Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 with parents, siblings and relatives coming together to celebrate this rite of spring for the 63rd season in La Jolla — and 51st at Cliffridge Park.
Thirty-eight teams are scheduled to play and all of them will have their photos taken in the morning. At noon, everyone assembles on the Bronco Field for a brief ceremony hosted by LJYB president Geoff Longenecker. Seeing all those new San Diego Padres uniforms together in one place is a sight for sore eyes and LJYB would like to thank the Padres for the generous donation of uniforms.
In addition to his welcoming remarks, Longenecker will recognize seven Pony players for their “Decade on the Diamond” — Michael Campagna, Jacob Duffy, Cade Kronemyer, Jesus Labra, Lachlan MacDonald, Bobby Murphy and Marcus Scott. Sticking with any sport or activity for 10 consecutive years is a fantastic accomplishment and proof these boys honor the game of baseball.
Longenecker will introduce eighth-grader Sophia Bacino to sing the National Anthem (her brother Dominic is a Bronco player). A few questions remain: who will throw out the ceremonial First Pitch? Who will be the “Play Ball Kid”? And will there be a fly-over again this year?
Off the field, Game Truck will be onsite and with a new activity — Outdoor Laser Tag! Look for them to set up a course in the right field at Pony (for ages 8 and older.) Puesto will have a tent serving their popular street tacos and other Mexican specialties. Kona Ice will also have a truck onsite.
“Kids Gear for Baseball” will have bins near the snack bar to collect used baseball gear that will be distributed to children in need throughout the county (this is a non-profit group organized by local high school students.) Bats, gloves, cleats and catchers equipment will be accepted. Jersey Mike’s will donate a free sub sandwich to every player in the league — managers will distribute cards in early March.
Last but not least, don’t forget to visit Bijan in the snack bar. He’s been a part of the LJYB community for almost 20 years and has watched these kids grow up from Shetland through Pony.
In the Old School spirit, every team is named for their corresponding sponsor. Sponsors are the lifeblood of a youth league and LJYB is honored to have several perennial supporters. Several parents sponsor teams in the name of a charitable organization.
This is a list of teams and managers:
• Pony — Morgan Stanley (Bob Meyerott); Pharmatek (Tim Scott); Seaside Fence (Dave Hammel).
• Bronco — Baxter Foundation (Jon Graff); Mitch’s Surf Shop (Bo Solis); Rotary Club of La Jolla (Ben Grieve); Science of Sport (Troy Latimer); Sector 9 (Dave Klimkiewicz).
• Mustang — Garden Communities (Jay Sakamoto); La Jolla Community Foundation (John Doback); Las Patronas (Rick Boynton); MedImpact (Aaron Roberts); Retirement Benefits Group (Michael Solis); Syntergy (Mike Campagna); Voices for Children (Rick MacDonald); Willis Allen Real Estate (Dennis Kim).
• Pinto — La Jolla Gastroenterology (Bob Uslander); Murfey Construction (Jim Sampson); Natural High (Greg MacLean); Palomar Insurance Holdings (Brad Kates); Puesto (Matt Landa); Red Door Interactive (Michael Tu); San Diego Pools (Charles Hartford); SD Storage (Rafael Reyes); Seamgen (Greg Hansen); Sudberry Properties (Mike Gibbs).
• Shetland Majors — California Bank & Trust (Chris Bwy); El Ranchero Mexican Restaurant (Aaron Hanson); Hagan Orthodontics (Jay Hagan); Kiwanis Club of La Jolla (Satoshi Takagawa); La Jolla Pediatric Dentristry (Chris Circuit); Murfey Construction (Ethan Turner); Palomar Insurance Holdings (Mac Armstrong).
• Shetland Minors — Aladdin Bail Bonds, Alexandria Real Estate (Brent Smith); Donovan’s Steak & Chop House (Mike Cairns); La Jolla Playhouse (David Washkowiak).
— ON THE WEB: More information at ljyb.org