Little League Baseball and softball seasons opened countywide Saturday with all leagues, including a new one in the northwestern portion of the county, holding opening day ceremonies at various venues.
Myersville-based Mountain Valley Baseball launched its inaugural season at Doub’s Meadow Park.
Formerly associated with Cal Ripken Baseball, Mountain Valley primarily draws its players from Myersville, Middletown and Wolfsville area, league co-president Wes Routzahn said.
“The move to Little League Baseball for our younger players will allow more playing opportunities for our kids,” Routzahn said in an email. “And we think it will help us to provide additional structure for coaches and parents.”
Mountain Valley fields three majors division teams, three minors divisions teams, two machine-pitch squads and four tee-ball level teams. Tee-ball is considered an entry-level baseball program for players, typically starting at age 5.
“We’ve got about 150 kids in the programs,” Routzahn said, adding the response to the switch to Little League so far has been good.
Mountain Valley officials began pondering the switch last year. They talked to officials at Little League Baseball’s international headquarters at Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“We’ve been impressed with the support they’ve shown us so far,” Routzahn said.
Mountain Valley Baseball will also have teams and players affiliated with Babe Ruth Baseball, league co-president Justin Clipp said.
“We hope that the new organization will help baseball flourish for the older players as well,” he said in an email. “We hope that by combining programs, we are putting in place a structure where local Babe Ruth teams will benefit.”
Overall, Mountain Valley Baseball will have 19 teams representing 10 different divisions of recreational and competitive play.
The league will play games at Doub’s Meadow and Harp Community Park. In Wolfsville, the teams will use the field at Wolfsville Ruritan Club. Teams will play opponents from Frederick, Thurmont and Smithsburg. There will also be some games against teams from Montgomery and Howard counties.
While Saturday was the opening day for the new league, no actual games were played. Instead, it was more of a picnic-like atmosphere, with such things as a moon bounce and other kids games.
“Today was more of a get-aquainted day,” Routzahn said. “We wanted everyone here to just come out and have some fun.”