Little League swings into action Saturday
The teams have been practicing, the fields are ready and the concession stand is almost stocked — not much left to do except play ball.
The Destin Little League Association will swing into action Saturday with its "opening day" parade and ceremonies.
"We're gearing up," said Ryan Boswell, league president.
About 300 youth, coaches, family and friends will gather on the track behind Destin Elementary School on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. to line up for the parade that will commence at 9 a.m. down Kelly Street to Dalton Threadgill Little League Park on Hickory Street. Leading out in this year's parade and grand marshal for the event is Bill Shirah, who's coached in the league 20-plus years as well as served as an umpire in the league. Shirah will also have the honor of throwing out the first pitch.
The Fort Walton Beach High School ROTC will present the colors followed by an introduction of the teams.
Beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m., each team, machine pitch and up, will take the field for a short two-inning exhibition game.
The numbers for this year's league is a bit down.
The Destin league sports 24 teams total.
"We're down in Tee ball and girls softball," Boswell said. "Travel softball has hurt us."
Last year the league boasted 400 youth spread across 34 teams.
This year, Destin has "just a hair under 300 kids ... that's still pretty good," Boswell said.
The league is broken down into three non-competitive Tee ball teams and five competitive. There are six machine pitch baseball teams, four minor league baseball teams, three major and three machine pitch softball teams.
Due to travel ball and a lack of turnout, there are no major league softball teams.
"We're really feeling the crunch this week to get it all ready," Boswell said. "We're really close."
All that's left is to finish up parking lot repairs and get the uniforms ready.
Plus he said the league could always use more sign sponsorships.
Although Saturday is a day for the youngsters to shine, the entire family is invited to come out and enjoy the festivities. Emerald Coast Attractions will offer bounce houses, Bungee jump and a rock wall set up as well as other games for the youth. Armband cost to get in all the events is $15.
Plus there will be an open concession stand and BBQ plates including sweet tea for $6 available.
For more information about the day's festivities, go to destinlittleleague.net.