The Lemon Grove Little League holds its Opening Day Ceremony starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Nichals Street field. With 32 teams and more than 400 players, the 2011 season is expected to be the league's biggest, according to Art Martinez, league president.
Celebrating 55 years of youth baseball in Lemon Grove, the festivities include games, rides and entertainment, including rock climbing, a dunk tank, and a mechanical bull.
To mark the occasion, a history of Little League Baseball in the San Diego area is in order.
From its founding in 1939 (the 100th anniversary of the supposed invention of the game itself by Abner Doubleday), Little League Baseball has lived up to the pledge all participants learn and recite, written by Peter J. McGovern, then president of Little League Baseball, in 1954.
"I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best."
Although there are numerous baseball, softball, challenged and instructional divisions in the Little League organization, the Little League Baseball Division (sometimes known as the Major Division) is the best-known, geared for boys and girls ages 9-12.
That division holds its championship each August in Williamsport, PA, the home of Little League Baseball. San Diegans took pride in the Park View All-Stars from Chula Vista, who took both the 2009 U.S. and International championships with their booming bats. In 1961, La Mesa Northern, representing El Cajon, won it all, beating El Campo, TX, with a team that included future San Diego State and NFL quarterback Brian Sipe. La Mesa (1957) and El Cajon (1977) also represented the U.S. in the title game but came up short against Mexico and China respectively.
San Diego County Little League teams are divided among eight California districts: 31 (North County), 32 (Coronado/Point Loma), 33 (La Mesa/Lake Murray), 41 East County), 42 (South Bay/Chula Vista/IB), 58 (Borrego/Warner Springs), 66 (Lemon Grove/South Bay) and 70 (Oceanside/Vista). Each has its own organization and board.
For links to individual leagues, click here.
Coaches, managers, league officials, team moms, scorekeepers: You can add your team's results and photos to our Patch sites, either in the "What do you have to say" box (limited to 160 characters) on our home page or on our Announcements page, using the category "sports awards" in the pull-down menu. To do so, just register with Patch—it's free!