“You could be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball.” Cal Ripken, Jr., shortstop, Baltimore Orioles
First chartered with Little League International in 1970 – CCALL is celebrating their 50th season. And what a season it is! Their first day of play was beautiful spring day in April at Cove Point Park. There was a nip in the air, fresh with the smell of spring flowers, a bright sun in the sky.
Calvert County American Little League (CCALL) serves the mid-to-southern portions of Calvert County for baseball and softball player development. The organization, with the Northern Calvert Little League, provide baseball and softball opportunities to children ages 4-16 regardless of their skill. CCALL is the only league with teams for handicapped and mentally challenged children. There are twenty-five children up to age 21 that play on Saturday mornings.
At a short coaches meeting Terry Anderson, CCALL’s president, gave an overview of the day, a schedule of the weekend’s games and how the teams would line-up on the field. There was a “parade” of teams scheduled and coaches were instructed where to gather.
Terry Anderson started with CCALL as a player thirty years ago. Coach Ray Dove took him on his team as a late request and taught him the meaning of “playing as a team.” Anderson has three kids of his own now and “they are why I do it.” He likes helping the kids, teaching the basics of baseball and teamwork.
Dove is still a coach today. After coaching for years when his son was younger, he took a break. Now Dove is back coaching his grandson, Jordan Thomas-Dove, a student at Plum Point Middle. For Dove coaching is “very special,” and he is thankful for the time he spends with his grandson both on and off the field. Jordan is a utility player, he can play any position, but his two favorites are pitching and shortstop.
The teams gathered in a large parking lot to begin their “parade” to the field. Those marching were the youngest members of the League (all under the age of eight), their coaches and families, and included six Rookie Tee Ball teams, sixteen Intermediate Tee Ball teams, twelve Machine Pitch teams, and five Ponytail teams.
Helping with the set-up was Paul Barnham, Vice-President of CCALL. He started coaching when his daughter was in T-Ball, she is now 25. He now has a second child playing T-Ball. He said, with a smile, “I was rooked into coaching. But really, they are only little once and it is worth the time. Seeing her smile after a game is worth the work.”
The baseball teams marched under a large American Flag hanging from the Solomons Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department tower truck, waving to family and friends. There are 747 children signed up to play in Rookie T-Ball, Intermediate T-Ball, and Machine Pitch Ball and it looked like all of them participated!
On the field the CCALL board of directors, several managers, coaches, umpires, families and friends gathered. At home plate, Terry Anderson, announced the teams as they arrived at the field and they lined up along the second and third baselines.
Patuxent High School ROTC presented colors. A beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner was sung by Amie Anderson, the oldest daughter of Terry Anderson.
Don Thomas, District 7 Little League, read a letter from Corey M. Wright, Eastern Regional Director, Eastern Little League International. In the letter Wright sent his “Congratulations to Terry Anderson, President, Calvert County American Little League, for celebrating its Golden Anniversary as a chartered League with Little League Baseball International. I applaud you and your corps of dedicated volunteers for continuing the tradition that began in 1970 under the presidency of Aubrey Johnson Jr. when the league was first named and known as Grover Little League.”
Thomas went on to say, “Months of planning, meetings, and implementing have now arrived and I hope all of you enjoy the moment for the hard work you have all accomplished…..Reflect on the thousands of young children that have benefited, not only in baseball and softball, but more importantly in the lessons of life as they have matured into young responsible adults.”
CCALL is 100% non-profit and volunteer. The cost of their uniforms and equipment is paid through the sponsorship of local companies. Companies sponsoring these young teams include: MK Barnes Consulting, Giant Food Lusby, Granados Automotive, The Calverton School, Montague Properties, Kachina Industries, Mulford Construction, Superior Fireplace and Hot Tubs, KB Services LLC, Little Proteges Early Learning, TSS Photography, LuLaRoe Tiffany Crayle, By the Bay Therapeutic Massage, Chesapeake Utilities & Construction, Forestville Auto Service, Sunkissed Tanning, Rhodes Seamless Gutters LLC, Top Notch Exteriors, Farmers Insurance Bob Koskie, Capps Mechanical, SJ Johnson, Johnson Logging & Firewood, Superior Fireplace & Hot Tubs, National Ink & Stitch, Hardesty Haven Catering LLC, Holman Painting, Giant Food Prince Frederick, All Weather Mechanical, Mahnasium of Dunkirk, Scheibel Construction, Final Touch Painting, Gaghan Mechanical, Choice Floor Center, Inc., Delaney & Keffler LLC, FOP Calvert County, and Lynco Associates, Inc.
Anderson announced that there were moon bounces and slides to provide entertainment for the players and their families. Food was available for purchase from Hardesty’s Haven, who donated a portion of the proceeds back to the League, and Rita’s.
Finishing his presentation Anderson told the coaches, ball players, their families and friends, “Cherish these days, remember these days. They will be some of your best days.”
And then he uttered the four most famous words in baseball, “Now let’s play ball”
“Playing baseball for pay – home run. Teaching kids to play the game – priceless.” Jack Perconte, second baseman, Seattle Mariners
For more information on Calvert County American Little League (CCALL) visit https://leagues.bluesombrero.com/
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon Reporter