Lincoln Little League celebrates the 2013 baseball season

Opening Day at McBean
By: Joshua Gutierrez/News Messenger Correspondent
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With the smells and sounds of spring on full display, Lincoln Little League officially opened its gates for the 2013 season last Saturday at McBean Park.

The festivities resembled that of a county fair as blow-up houses and concession stands for local businesses were erected just beyond the outfield fence.

With more than 800 kids enrolled to play this season, Lincoln boasts the largest number of participants in the entire Sacramento region.

First-year president Jon Chapple began the ceremonial entrance of all 67 teams as the T-Ball Angels were introduced to an ensemble of photographers and applause.

The newest members of the fraternity gave way to the five divisions that compose Little League and finished with the eldest Juniors.

Addressing the crowd after every team arranged themselves in the outfield, Chapple gave thanks to the 200-plus coaches and volunteers who make Lincoln Little League possible.

“We’re really excited for the year. And we’re looking forward to a great season,” said Chapple. “We just appreciate all the help from all the volunteers, vendors, sponsors; without them, none of this happens.”

Former president Larry Rhodes, who now manages the Majors’ Braves, was honored with a plaque for his three years of service as president.

In attendance, was District 11 representative Terry Bonnin and president-elect of the Rotary Club of Lincoln Karen Johnson.

The ceremonies ended with a raffle, and the reciting of the Little League pledge. After the playing of the national anthem, an array of ball caps filled the air as the 800-plus kids ushered in the new season.

Speaking on behalf of his teammates on the Majors’ Phillies and the entire league, Zachary Hatten spoke in a post-ceremony interview.

“It means winning and having fun” said Zachary Hatten of the Majors’ Phillies as to the importance of Little League. “And No. 2, is good fielding. Ball first, always ball first.

“Batting, definitely batting,” Hatten added without hesitation as to what was his favorite aspect of the game.