Destin Little League kicks off season with opening day celebration

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

If it’s spring, it’s Little League time in Destin.

The Destin Little League Association kicked off its season Saturday with a parade of teams down Kelly Street to Dalton Threadgill Little League Park on Hickory Street. 

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Last year, the youth had their parade, played maybe one game and then the season came to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Coaches along with a couple of players from each team file up to introduce their team for the 2021 Destin Little League season.

The league had a short season in the fall, but this year league officials are hoping to have a full season and are off to a great start.

"Opening Day at Destin Little League was a success and a testament to the resilience of the Destin community," said DLL President Jason Alley.

Destin Elementary School Principal and Little League coach Joe Jannazo spent some time in the dunking booth on Saturday at the ball park.

"With more than 350 boys and girls age 4 to 13 participating, it was great to see the entire Destin Little League family and our community supporters back at the ball park," Alley added.

Sporting their new uniforms, the 32 teams that make up Destin Little League traveled from the track located behind Destin Elementary School on Kelly Street down to the ball park with banners in tow. 

Players line the wall of the dugout on the softball/machine pitch field at Dalton Threadgill Little League Park on Saturday.

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After an introduction of teams and pledge, the teams played exhibition games and the coaches played a Cabbage Ball game. Kids got to enjoy inflatables as well a chance to dunk some of their coaches in the dunking booth. Destin Elementary School Principal and Little League coach Joe Jannazo did his time in the booth.

"I had the pleasure of being the first in the dunk tank," Jannazo said. "I am not sure how many times I splashed into the water (probably 40) but getting out in the breezy 55-degree weather stung a little bit each time. Well worth it for the smiles on the kids' faces."

Sitting on the edge of the infield, players wait their turn on opening day, for team introductions. The Destin Little League began regular season play Monday evening.

"It was an amazing opening day," added Coach Kevin Schmidt. "So many families came out to participate. Local businesses were there with food and activities for the kids. It was a huge success."

League play got underway Monday evening with games scheduled every night at the ball park starting at 5:30 p.m.