After a week of dicey weather, Mother Nature let the sun shine brightly on Lions’ Park so more than a thousand players and coaches from Zionsville Little League’s Rec Baseball, Softball, and Challenger programs, and the Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville Tee-ball could celebrate Opening Night in the warm sunshine.
The program began with the traditional Parade of Players onto Brighthouse Field 2 at Lions’ Park. Rob Blackman, a ZLL parent and one of the voices of Purdue sports introduced the stream of teams that filled the field with boys and girls ages 4 to 18. The players showed their enthusiasm for the new season by running a gauntlet of high fives and tossing their caps into the air.
ZLL alumnae Elena Stanczyciewicz showed she’s more than just a softball player by singing the National Anthem. The Little League pledge was recited by Grace Goodman along with Mitchell and Thomas Price, and the ceremony was well underway.
ZLL uses the Opening Night ceremony to recognize individuals and organizations that make ZLL the best youth sports program in Zionsville. This year, Marc Lynn was awarded the prestigious McKamey/Holmes Award for his long time service to ZLL as a long time coach, board member, and volunteer.
In addition, Zionsville Eyecare, represented by Dr. Jim Haines (a former ZLL player way back in the day) and Dr. Nicholas Garn, received the Sponsor of the Year Award for their continual loyalty to ZLL. Zionsville Eyecare has been a sponsor at ZLL for more than 30 years. ZLL is indebted to all of its sponsors, and it is a privilege to receive the support from so many generous businesses, organizations, families, and individuals. Unlike most local youth baseball/softball organizations, ZLL pays the expenses of operating its host park, and our sponsors help offset a significant portion of those costs.
Opening Night is also an opportunity to recognize All-Star teams from ZLL that achieved significant milestones in the previous year. Last year, both the 10U and 12U All-Star softball teams were 2014 District 8 and Sectional 5 Champions. These teams were honored and displayed their championship banners
The festivities concluded with the tradition of throwing out a ceremonial “First Pitch”. Andrew Paul threw out the ceremonial first baseball pitch to his catcher, Jack Connor. Ainsley Serbin tossed a strike to Katie Cantrell as the representatives of ZLL softball players.
Four games were played under the lights following the ceremony and a full slate of games followed on Saturday on a beautiful day for all.
Photos from Opening Night are available for viewing on the Zionsville Little League Facebook page.