It was perfect weather for baseball Saturday morning as Calistoga Little League opened play for the 2019 season at Tedeschi Field. The opening ceremonies were a home run with players, coaches and fans as each team was introduced and took a ceremonial run around the bases.
League president and manager of the Calistoga Jaguars minor league team, Joan Johnson, appreciated the large turnout.
“There are lots of parents and players out here today, so it’s very exciting,” she said. Johnson said the league boasts around 100 boys and girls from ages 4-14.
“It’s a great day for the league because there are a lot of hours that are put in by our board members and managers that make everything possible,” Johnson said. “We need to coordinate with St. Helena and Yountville for our baseball games and our softball teams play in American Canyon, Healdsburg and Lake County so it takes a lot of work to make sure all the teams have a full season.
“We’re hoping that all the kids have fun and are learning something, that’s the biggest thing with our league,” Johnson added.
Johnson went on to say it takes a lot of volunteers and sponsors make the league a success.
“We are always looking for volunteers, primarily in the umpire department for our older teams,” she said. “We also need help in our snack shack. Anyone who has something to contribute, we’re happy to bring them into the circle.
“We definitely want to thank all of our sponsors not only for sponsoring our teams, but also for helping us to create banners was well donating food and drinks. That’s huge for us because the league is free for the players,” she emphasized.
The Little League season was kicked off by a game between two minor league teams, the Calistoga Jaguars and Calistoga Rotary.
Aldo Nunez was celebrating his first season as manager of the Rotary side.
“I love baseball, so I’m really enjoying today,” he said as his team took the field.
“We have fifteen kids and we’ll be playing until May. We have a great little crew and they’re all really excited,” said Nunez. “Calistoga is a small community and it’s great to get the kids out here to get to know each other. And after the winter, it’s just great to get out here and play baseball.”
Andrew Peterson, who plays shortstop and pitches for the Rotary team, has been playing in Calistoga Little League for two years.
“Baseball is a fun game and a great activity,” he said. “It’s exciting to be out here.”
Alex Bravo, a third-year player for the Jaguars, was also ready to go.
“Pitching is my favorite part of Little League,” he said.