Play ball: Youth season opens

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is the traditional seventh-inning stretch baseball anthem. Chorus words include: “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I never get back.”

The crowd no longer wants roasted peanuts and Cracker Jack. Now kids yell to Mom, or Dad, making the umpteenth trip to the concession stand, “Buy me boiled peanuts, get me a surprise. Don’t forget I want cheese on my fries.”

Calera Youth baseball and Calera girls softball opened their season March 27 at Oliver Park. The day started with a parade and continued all day with food, fun booths, pictures and much more.

Jennifer Reed, Calera girls softball president, was impressed with their huge turnout.

“This is the largest crowd in years,” Reed said. “I owe a big thanks to the coaches, parents and board members who volunteer so much of their time to make our softball program successful.”

Calera girls softball’s mission is to empower a healthy, competitive nature, while fostering teamwork and moral values that can last a lifetime.

The players sold candy bars to help raise money for the league’s expenses, i.e. umpires, equipment, awards and a new facility.

“Our league is continuously growing and a new facility will definitely take the strain off the field space we currently have,” Reed said.

There are 120 players on 10 teams of girls ages 12 and under.

The league plans an additional team for girls 14 and under.

Calera Youth baseball has 233 boys and girls ages 3 to 12 on 21 teams.

Reggie Brown, Calera Youth Baseball president, was thrilled to have Mayor Jon Graham throw out the first ball of the season.

“It’s good to see our mayor involved with the youth,” Brown said.

He thanks all the coaches and parents who sacrificed their time to make the day happen.

Steve Thomaston, vice-president, helped with concessions.

“We have chili-cheese fries, hot dogs, boiled peanuts, candy bars, chicken finger baskets, chicken finger sandwiches —about anything you want to eat,” Thomaston said.

“Don’t forget frozen lemonade,” Tonya Lee added as she scooted around carrying a pan of fries.

Brown and Thomaston look forward to working with Chris Bunn and his effort to organize a Field of Angels, a fall baseball program for special needs athletes. Registration will begin mid-summer.

Contact information for the leagues is on the city’s website, Cityofcalera.org

Mollie Brown is the new community columnist for Calera. She can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.