Opening Day celebrates return of Little League to Grove City
It's time to play ball in Grove City, and last weekend, the community turned out to inaugurate the season.
On Saturday, May 4, players, coaches, families and fans arrived at Windsor Park to officially kick off the youth baseball season with Opening Day for the Grove City Little League.
It marked the return of Little League baseball to Grove City after a 35-year absence.
"This is the beginning of a new history," said Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage.
The day began with a ceremony at the park's Barry Babbert Memorial Field with league teams lining up on the field for a procession.
Throwing out the first pitch with Stage was resident Ashley Marshall, who was wheeled out to the pitcher's mound by her father, Chris Marshall. She plays in the Central Ohio Miracle League in Dublin, a league for children with physical and mental disabilities.
Also present was her mother, Kerrie, brother, Aaron, and twin sister, Amanda.
The Grove City Little League board of directors currently is conducting a fundraising campaign to build a Dream Field here, to be accessible and usable for children and adults with disabilities, including those in wheelchairs such as Ashley.
"It's easy for kids in wheelchairs and walkers," Chris Marshall said of the Dream Field. "It gives them a chance to be a normal kid."
Catching the first pitch was Jon Warden, who was a pitcher with the Detroit Tigers in 1968 when the team won the World Series and was a contributor to the ESPN show Cold Pizza.
The national anthem was sung by Grove City High School sophomore Hope Stacker, and the presentation of the colors was conducted by Paschall Post 164 of the American Legion in Grove City. The ceremony also included a recitation of the Little League pledge by residents Shane and Logan Williams.
During the opening ceremony, Stage recognized the city's park and recreation and service departments for maintaining the baseball diamonds, and the league's sponsors, among them the Grove City Lions Club, which has sponsored youth baseball in the community for 63 straight years.
Other league sponsors include the Goddard School in Grove City, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Grove City Family Dentistry, Perigo Family Eye Care, Sound Communications and Bobby Layman Chevrolet.
For more information Little League in Grove City, visit grovecityohio.gov or call 614-277-3050.