Youth baseball revelry held at Prentis Park By: David Lias
Plain Talk You couldnâ�?�?t have selected a finer day for baseball. There was virtually no wind on Saturday, May 31 at the Prentis Park ball field in Vermillion for the very first Vermillion Baseball Opening Day Celebration. A small audience kicked off the day at noon to watch the Vermillion 13-14 Teeners face Lennox. â�?�?This was an idea our board had,â�? said Steve Miller, president of the Vermillion Youth Baseball Association (VYBA), â�?�?back in the winter. We thought this would be a great day simply to build spirit in Vermillion for baseball, and to raise some funds for this.â�? Adults could gain admission to the entire day of baseball for a mere pittance of $2. The VYBA operated concession stands and, later in the day when the crowd had grown substantially, held a raffle to gather more funds. â�?�?We started by saying â�?�?letâ�?�?s have the Legion team play, and then have the Greysox play,â�? Miller said, â�?�?and later, while we were still planning this, we decided add the Teeners and make this a whole day of baseball. Special ceremonies at the beginning of the Vermillion Legion and Vermillion Greysox games, which started at 5 and 7:30 p.m. respectively, added to the dayâ�?�?s celebration. Some of Vermillionâ�?�?s youngest ballplayers â�?�? members of local T-ball and rookie leagues â�?�? paraded onto the field before the beginning of the Vermillion Legion game against Lennox. Likewise, a second group of young ballplayers marched onto the diamond just before the Vermillion Greysox faced Crofton. â�?�?All of the younger boys were invited to come and wear their uniforms,â�? Miller said. â�?�?They got into the games for free, and then they participated in the parade.â�? As Miller spoke, a warm sun illuminated the bright green grass of the ball field through a clear blue sky. â�?�?You couldnâ�?�?t have picked a better day for baseball,â�? he said. The VYBA sponsors all of the youngest baseball players in the community. â�?�?Thatâ�?�?s four different leagues; we have 22 teams that we sponsor and 274 boys and some girls who participate,â�? Miller said. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s great recreation, itâ�?�?s great spirit, and ultimately itâ�?�?s also about teaching baseball and bringing kids together. â�?�?We start with T-ballers at age 5, and actually our association takes kids up to age 15,â�? he said. â�?�?The games you are seeing today include some of the older Vermillion baseball players, and part of the goal for them is that the more kids we teach baseball, the more will continue to play as they grow older, even perhaps becoming members of the Greysox someday.â�? Baseball, Miller said, is a lifelong passion for many people. â�?�?Weâ�?�?d like to make Vermillion the kind of place where everybody loves baseball,â�? he said.
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