Little League swings into action
Published 8:52 pm Saturday, March 31, 2012
A vibrant and classic slice of Americana came to the Bennett’s Creek Little League Driver Sports Complex Friday evening when the sporting organization’s 2012 season got under way with a surge of excitement.
The sports complex behind Driver Elementary School was awash with proud parents and eager children. Norfolk Tides mascot Rip Tide partied with the crowd, and fresh hot dogs were in abundance.
Shane Norgard’s son, Austin, 6, was one of those getting a first taste of Little League. “I’m extremely proud,” the elder Norgard said. “I played all through college, and it’s nice to see him in the uniform.”
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The jumping castle seemed most popular among several children’s amusements, and raffle tickets were being snapped up.
Adding to the palpable excitement was the fact that children and adults alike know big things are in store for the league, courtesy of the Norfolk Tides.
Last month, Bennett’s Creek Little League was one of three local youth sports teams to win a field upgrade from the Norfolk Tides after a Facebook contest. The Tides will provide the money and the manpower to upgrade the league’s Challenger field along with its dugouts. The Challenger Division serves children with a range of disabilities.
Snow and Vincent Rodgers attended Friday’s celebration with their two boys, Vincent Jr., 9, and Vante, 7. “It’s good for them to be able to get out and enjoy it,” said Snow Rodgers, the boys’ mother.
Bennett’s Creek Little League President Chip Ambrosino reported 330 registrations for 2012. “That’s pretty good,” he said.
He added that registrations are spread evenly across divisions, from T-ball through senior league. “We’re pretty good across the board,” he said. “We have 25 teams, (and) we have a bunch of sponsorships this year.”
Addressing the crowd, Ambrosino remarked on the community spirit of Bennett’s Creek Little League. “This is what Little League is all about — the community coming out and showing support,” he said.
The season launch involved “months of preparation,” he said. “It’s just great to see all you guys out here tonight. The first group to thank is the team moms and dads — that’s a pretty tough job.”
More parents are still needed in various volunteering roles, he said. “We need you guys to get involved,” he said. “The best thing about volunteering is you see the results of the effort you put in to the league.”
Congressman Randy Forbes, whose House of Representatives district includes Suffolk, got the season officially under way by pitching the first ball and remarked on the evening’s “wonderful atmosphere.”
“This is still a great piece of Americana, where we see community spirit alive and well in this country,” he said.