By Stephen Tool, MCIN Staff
Sunshine and a light breeze greeted the 62nd opening ceremonies of Hawthorne Little League. Spectators and proud ballplayers standing tall in their bright and spotless uniforms crowded Tiny Cardenas field to pay homage to America’s Favorite Pastime. With the grass a perfect green and the chalk lines shining white against the dirt, it was hard to think of anything but baseball.
The announcer individually introduced teams, followed by coach and player introductions. The teams recited the Little League Pledge and someone sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”
A short while later the Pirates and Astros played the opening game of the season the way it should be played: with intensity and reverence for the game. The Astros prevailed 2-1 in what was by far the best baseball game played by Hawthorne teams on Saturday. Gavin Burroughs of the Astros was Pepper’s player of the game.
Little League baseball is experiencing a resurgence of popularity these days. The largest number of children in years signed up to play ball this season. League President and Pirates coach Jason Cardenas couldn’t be happier.
“This is the most kids I’ve seen come out in the five years I’ve been here. I think we’re right on at 100 kids ages 3-12,” Cardenas said.
When asked why he signed on as league president, Cardenas said he didn’t like the direction the league was going. “My name is on this field, my uncle and my dad built this field; I just wanted to pick it back up.”
Cardenas didn’t hesitate when asked what baseball has to offer kids. “Oh man, teamwork, leadership, responsibility, all kinds of stuff from the youngest players on up.
The league intends to field two all-star teams. Cardenas estimated that eight years have lapsed since Hawthorne had enough players for all-stars. “We finally have enough players for two teams that will be competitive against other teams in the state. Our 12-year-olds have been waiting since they were nine for this,” Cardenas said.
After pausing to gaze out at the field before leaving, Cardenas said, “ I love it; it’s really going good this year.”
The Cubs are still several players short. Interested individuals should contact Jason Cardenas at 316-0301.