Youth league baseball, softball starts Saturday

Posted April 11, 2018 at 8:59 am

The Albany Cal Ripken organization for youth baseball and softball will officially get underway Saturday as opening day ceremonies are set to begin at 9 a.m. with the annual parade, followed by the introduction of teams and the throwing out of the first pitch.

This year, Chris Marlow will be heading up the league as president and with his first year at the top chair, he says it’s been a little difficult finding his place in that role.

“There have been a lot of headaches,” Marlow said. “Not knowing what to do or how much to do. I’ve worked a lot and spent a lot of late nights out here getting everything going as far as insurance, charter, pictures, teams and drafts … it’s an eye opener for someone who has never done it. Once you get the first year under your belt, the second year will be a lot better. You will know to schedule things sooner. The more I learn now, the more we can get on it at the beginning of next year.”

Other than having the opening day ceremonies, all teams except the Wee Ball League will play at least one game Saturday.

Prior to the league beginning, there were at least three weeks of sign-ups available and Marlow said this year’s numbers are up with almost 50 percent of the total turnout for the league being players in the Wee Ball and Tee Ball.

“Last year’s board seems to act like the numbers are up from last year,” Marlow said. “There is 242 to 245 kids this year.”

In addition to playing teams in the same league, Marlow said there are games scheduled with Burkesville’s Cal Ripken League this season.

“We have seven or eight games between us and Burkesville that is a mixture of here and there,” Marlow said. “They are the closest one that we can actually play. Wayne County started a Cal Ripken league this year, but with the time difference it would be hard to schedule some of those games.”

Marlow said for the most part he has enjoyed his time as president of the Albany Cal Ripken league.

“You have to take a few questions on things we’ve done, but it’s not just what I say. It’s got to be at least five people on the board vote yea or nay in order for something to go through,” Marlow said. “It’s not a dictatorship so to speak. So far we’ve been having weekly meetings and have had one a week since the first of March. We will have some progressively throughout the season and we will have one at the end of the season as well to go over what was good and what was bad.”

Marlow is very optimistic about this year’s season.

“I think it’s going to go good,” Marlow said. “I think all the kids are going to enjoy it. I think we’ve got more (15 or 16) games scheduled and we are going to have a tournament the first week in June. I think they will enjoy the part of more games. We are going to try to keep the fields full four nights a week.”

In the weeks prior to this Saturday’s kick off, weather has plagued practice time with many of the practice days canceled. Marlow said the fields right now look very good and he hopes for very few rain outs as the season progresses.

“We have our fingers crossed that the weather holds off and we have a great season,” Marlow said. “We’ve scheduled enough games that we want a minimum of 10 for the season. We scheduled 15 and we may end up scheduling 18 just so we don’t have to make up those games that we could potentially miss down the road.”

The parade lineup will be at the middle school at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 14.