The Jim Thorpe Little League ended a successful season today with the major league champion Rockies battling through the loser's bracket to beat the Diamondbacks in back-to-back games to take the title. It was the end to an exciting weekend and a great season.
There were 302 kids ranging in age from 5 to 12 playing on 25 teams this year. While the rain wreaked havoc on the schedule, the games played on thanks to the hard work of the volunteers and volunteer coaches.
The League also worked closely with the Jim Thorpe Booster Club Softball Program to share the use of the high school softball field. Planning for the 2011 season started in January and board members and volunteer coaches worked on the field every Saturday since April to ensure the games could be played.
The Jim Thorpe Community Athletic Association donated the use of Sam Miller Field this year and worked very hard to ensure that field was ready for minor league games. They rebuilt and painted the dugouts, redid the grass and infield, built a pitcher's mound and offered the use of their concession stand to the league. I know work isn't stopping there as the Association is raising funds for a scoreboard and fence.
I don't think everyone realizes what it takes to keep McGarvey's, Kuhn's and Sam Miller field baseball-ready. Volunteers mow grass, paint, rake, dig dirt, clean bathrooms, clean the concession stand, work in the concession stand, clean up litter and empty large trash barrels. Some of these chores are done every Saturday, some before and after every game. Many of the volunteers are also coaches so in addition to doing all of the chores they also hold practices and coach games.
This year, the League is fortunate to host the District 18 9&10 Year-Old All-star Tournament. Volunteers spent the entire day on Saturday, June 11 assembling three new sets of bleachers and moving old ones. There will also be new batting cages installed by volunteers in time for the tournament. The tournament begins June 24 and I hope the community will come and witness Little League baseball at its finest.
We are so very lucky to have the people we do involved in Little League. Next time you see a coach or a volunteer, thank them. They've spent countless hours making our league one of the best around for your children and your community. You should be proud. I am.
Jim Thorpe, PA