The opening of the Little League season in Grove City will feature a double-header of festivities.
Along with the actual opening day of games Saturday, May 5, the city is holding the inaugural Friday Night Grand Slam on Friday, May 4.
The Grand Slam is a baseball-themed community festival that will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at Windsor Park, 4414 Broadway. An alternate entrance to the park is at 4430 Dudley Ave.
"The start of the Little League season is always special in Grove City, but we wanted to do something this year that would make it even more special," said Jason Barnes, the city's recreation supervisor for sports and fitness.
"Moving the parade to Friday night and following it with an event of family-oriented activities, we think, will allow even more people in our community to take part and celebrate the start of baseball season," Barnes said.
The event will begin with the parade of players participating in T-ball, age 5, through Big League, ages 15-17, and the Buddy Ball league, he said.
The parade will lead through Windsor Park from field 11 in the northeast corner to the Wall of Fame.
"Once everyone is assembled, we'll announce each team, give out pins to the players and each team will have a chance to have their photo taken with Mayor (Richard "Ike") Stage," Barnes said.
Stage will then lead the players in reciting the Little League Pledge.
The newest inductees to the city's Little League Wall of Fame will be honored as their names are unveiled on the wall. It honors community members for their dedication to the local youth baseball program.
This year's inductees are coaches Joe Capehart and Michael Haines, umpire Kenny Vaughn and team sponsor Grove City Masonic Lodge 687.
"They've all served in their roles for at least 25 years," Barnes said. "It's that kind of community support that makes our youth baseball program so strong."
The evening will include a variety of sports-skills competitions, bounce houses and entertainment including a disc jockey.
"We'll be having contests involving fielding, hitting and base running and giving out prizes to the winners," Barnes said.
Grove City's Little League baseball season will officially get underway on Saturday.
The honor guard will present colors at 8:45 a.m. following by the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The games will begin at 9 a.m. on the 11 diamonds at Windsor Park.
More than 800 youngsters are participating with about 65 teams this season, Barnes said.
The Grand Slam is planned as an annual event, he said.
"We think it's going to be the beginning of a great tradition that will make the opening of Little League even more memorable," Barnes said.
More information is available at www.grovecityohio.gov.
Throughout the season, weather-related cancellation information will be available on the city's website, Facebook and Twitter pages or by calling 614-277-3060 the day games are scheduled.