SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Springs Little League held its opening day ceremony on Saturday, kicking off yet another season at West Side Recreation Park.
The ceremony was originally scheduled for April 29, but was delayed due to weather. Players and coaches ran onto the Majors Field as each team was announced during the ceremony.
The Little League Pledge was read by Ethan Booth, and the national anthem was sung by SSHS student Abby DeGregory. The league’s 12-year-old players received jackets donated by Janet Fitzpatrick, who donates customized jackets each year to players who age out of SSLL. Fitzpatrick is sponsoring two SSLL teams this year.
SSLL president Derrick LeGall spoke, thanking those in attendance.
“I am humbled, I am honored to be here today,” said LeGall. “Thank you for coming out today. Last week just wasn’t meant to be, but today, the gods are smiling down on us. We have a beautiful day, and I want to say welcome to each and every one of you.”
LeGall thanked coaches, parents, and families, saying, “You make this possible.” He also thanked the SSLL Board of Directors for their dedication.
“One of the things that make us so great is the people that are standing behind me and around me,” LeGall said. “I had somebody text me two days ago, they used to be a coach and a parent in this league, and they said, ‘I rode by the fields, and they look amazing.’ And it’s because of these folks back here that help keep these fields playable and safe for each and every one of the kids.”
He also addressed the players, encouraging them to follow their dreams and ignore negativity.
“Each one of you have dreams, dreams that one day you will make it to the major leagues,” said LeGall. “Dreams that one day, you will become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or maybe a teacher. Please know that your dreams are attainable. Don’t let anyone discourage you from reaching those goals.”
He emphasized that the league’s focus is on building character and creating memories for each kid.
“We are not trying to create major league baseball players here,” LeGall said. “We are trying to build character for good citizenship. ... That’s what it’s all about. Getting along and getting together.”
LeGall also highlighted the current varsity baseball team at Saratoga Springs, saying eight players on the varsity squad played Little League at West Side Rec. Blue Streaks’ senior infielder Orion Lansing threw out the ceremonial first pitch to SSLL player Jude Miller at Saturday’s ceremony.
“So kids, continue to follow your dreams,” said LeGall. “One day, I’m hoping to see you on our varsity team.”