Sun shines on ball fields as Little League opens in Onaway

THE CHARLIE Schaar softball field was in perfect shape for Saturday’s opening-day ceremony. (Photo by Peter Jakey)
THE CHARLIE Schaar softball field was in perfect shape for Saturday’s opening-day ceremony. (Photo by Peter Jakey)

Onaway Little League opened a new season Saturday at the Edna Lound Recreation Area with a ceremony on the Charlie Schaar softball field. It was conducted under bright sunny skies and a stiff northern breeze.
Players and coaches circled the infield in their multi-colored uniforms for the 10-minute ceremony led by first-year Little League president Pam Lovelace, who takes over for Robin Benson.
“It’s cold, but at least we are not getting rained on or snowed on, or anything else, it’s a beautiful day and we are grateful for it,” said Lovelace. “We have an amazing season ahead of us.”
There are 16 teams this season with 184 players, which is up by nearly 20 from a year ago. It was 166 in 2016.
During Lovelace’s opening remarks, she acknowledged Benson’s two years of service to the organization.
“She has been an amazing help as I have transitioned into this position,” said Lovelace, who asked for a round of applause for Benson. “We also would like to thank all of our sponsors – we are so grateful to have an amazing community that is so supportive of what we do.”
Lovelace acknowledged current board members. “It takes a lot of work to put all of this together.” She also introduced each team and its head coach/manager.
“We want to give a big thank you to our coaches,” she said. “It takes a lot of time and dedication and greatly appreciate them. Thank your coaches. And to all the parents, we appreciate your support.”
Aiden Fry and Spencer Nash from the junior boys led the players in the Little League pledge before everyone turned to the American Flag as Lovelace sang a flawless rendition of the national anthem.
That was followed by the throwing out of the ceremonial first pitch by Rick McDonald, who was doing it in honor of his father Dick McDonald, one of the founders of Onaway Little League.
“He (Dick) helped bring Little League here back in 1975,” said Rick. “It was great to have him recognized for his contributions.” Dick McDonald passed away, Feb. 20.
A few years ago, Dick threw out the first pitch to his grandson Ian McDonald, who was in minors at the time.
This year, Ian is juniors and caught the pitch from his father.
How important was it to throw a strike?
“I was glad to get it there,” said Rick.
“It was a little low,” said Ian with a big smile.
With blessings on a new season, coaches and players prepared for a busy day of games.
One of the new additions at the home of the Little League fields will be a new batting cage between the tennis courts and field No. 1.
“It will be similar to what is over at Maxon Field right now,” said Lovelace. “They are going to be working on it over the course of the summer.”
All-star competition will begin on or after the Fourth the July.
The board consists of Pam Lovelace, president; Yime Lovelace, vice president of baseball; Tom Crawford, vice president of softball; Becky Nash, secretary/treasurer; open position, player agent; Mac Morgan, safety officer; Deb Morgan, equipment manager; Kirsten Buccigrossi, umpire in chief and Jennifer Jones, concession manager.