SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – It’s game on for the Shreveport Little League thanks to an outpouring of support from the community.
In February, thieves stole a piece of heavy equipment valued at more than $10,000 from the ball park. The league’s side-by-side vehicle, which is used constantly in day-to-day operations was stolen and the facility’s gate was also badly damaged.
Since then, two local companies have stepped in to help get the non-profit ready for the season.
“This is all a volunteer effort, it’s all money that we get through registration fees and a big piece of it is sponsorship dollars,” said Shreveport Little League President Beau Raines. “We can’t cover all the costs out here through registration fees, so we couldn’t have a league without all the great sponsors and partners we have.”
Area businesses chipped in by donating equipment and volunteers to get the fields game day ready for the kids.
And, they did so just in time, because it’s officially baseball season in the ArkLaTex!
Thursday night hundreds of little leaguers suited up to celebrate the start of the spring season in Shreveport.
Fireworks sparked the start of play, with opening night excitement also delivered by sky divers.
“We managed to get five fields ready for games, so it’s gonna be an exciting night,” said Raines.
More than 700 kids are looking forward to taking a swing at the season.
“Because it’s my favorite sport,” said Chayse Frierson, 7, who plays for the Bombers.
“My brother played T-ball and ever since I hit off the tee, it was really good,” said Charlie Crook, 7. Crook plays softball for LOLs with Mary Garrett, 6, and Evie Mikalis, 6.
Some players, like Mikalis are looking forward to getting into the game.
“I like hitting the ball and pitching,” she said. “I’m the pitcher.”
Frierson’s little brother Chandler, 4, said he just likes knocking the ball out of the park.
“Hitting it over the fence,” the Captains player said.
Others are excited about the game for other reasons.
“The part I’m most excited about is the uniforms,” said Garrett.
America’s past time strikes up fond memories for both the young and young at heart.
“I just remember eating a lot of sunflower seeds and dodging baseballs, that’s what I remember about baseball,” said Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins. “I was much better at football and basketball, but I still had a good time with my friends out there.”
Perkins threw out the first pitch at the opening ceremonies.
“My favorite citizens of Shreveport, the future, the kids are out, they’re bouncing around, so it’s a big night for everybody,” said Perkins.
Five games were played Thursday to officially start the spring 2020 season.