A cloudy, overcast morning proved a perfect backdrop for baseball Saturday at the Tiverton Town Farm. Just one week after its new rival league, Tiverton Baseball, kicked off its inaugural season, the …
A cloudy, overcast morning proved a perfect backdrop for baseball Saturday at the Tiverton Town Farm. Just one week after its new rival league, Tiverton Baseball, kicked off its inaugural season, the long-time Tiverton Little League held its opening day, packed with parades of players, ceremonies, and lots of baseball.
Flanking the diamond were local mascots, raffle sellers, Del’s Lemonade, and a few special guests including Governor Dan McKee, who threw the first pitch. Others in attendance included Tiverton school superintendent Peter Sanchioni, Tiverton Police Chief Patrick Jones, and two members of the town council.
The the 71-year-old program has recently found a competitor in Tiverton Baseball, whose numbers remain high since the league's founding last November.
But no matter. Little League’s opening day was teeming with eager faces and supportive onlookers.
“It’s been challenging,” Little League president Michael DeCotis said. “Tiverton Baseball took a lot of our players, we lost about 100 boys. However, we have a big tee-ball program and about 145 girls playing softball.”
The league also has both minors and majors baseball teams, he said.
“Our organization is smaller because of what happened. But we’re still pretty big. We lost and also gained a lot of kids.”
Saturday’s event also saw Governor McKee’s bestowal of the league’s Lifetime Achievement award to Claudia Linhares, who served as Tiverton Little League’s president for more than 40 years. Tom Perella, a long-time member of the league’s board of directors, was also awarded a citation for his 23 years of leadership, including nine years of vice-presidency.
DeCotis gave his thanks to the many individuals who continuously volunteer their time to the league and helped prepare them for the season.
“We are really excited about what we are going to do as an organization,” he said. “We did a lot of improvements in the off-season — we renovated our fields, we made it look beautiful.”
“We are just as excited as the kids are,” he said, expressing his anticipation of the season to come. And with Mother Nature cooperating, the league’s opening day ceremonies came to a close just as the first few drops of rain began to fall.