The West Hartford Little League’s celebration of its 15th anniversary will include the sharing of memories and honoring of those who have contributed to the league’s success.
By Ronni Newton
The West Hartford Little League (WHLL) is holding a party on Saturday, April 29, celebrating 15 years – and counting – of great memories.
The celebration will be held at West Hartford Town Hall, from 7-10 p.m. Beachland Tavern will be providing heavy hors d’oeuvres, and beverages are BYOB.
Present and former players will be celebrated, as will past WHLL presidents who will be presented with special pillows crafted from team jerseys.
The event is not intended just for current WHLL families. Founders Scott Franklin, Mark Baral, and Ronit Shoham plan to share their memories and photos of the last 15 years – with plenty of stories and photos of past as well as current players.
“Starting WHLL has been a rewarding journey,” said Shoham. “The saying ‘build it and they will come’ has been the reward of this journey.”
According to Baral, who serves as the WHLL treasurer, there were 300 baseball players and an annual budget of $40,000 when the league was formed in 2003. “In 2017 – 15 years later – we have grown to an average of 600 players and 200 coaches with an annual budget of $150,000,” he said.
Franklin said the WHLL’s primary goal was to create a baseball league that would be fair to all participants. “We wanted a fair selection process and we wanted every child to have meaningful playing time. We formed a corporation known as Fairness in Youth Sports, Inc., because we always wanted to remember that the word ‘fairness’ was in our DNA,” he said.
Baral said that throughout the 15 years, the players have come first, and uniforms and equipment have been provided to ensure a positive experience.
High quality fields have been developed as well.
“Over the past 15 years through various fundraisers and private donations we developed the UConn Baseball Complex which includes three baseball diamonds, two press boxes, batting cages, equipment storage building, and with the Miracle League assistance, a brand new concession stand,” Baral said.
The final fundraising is underway for lights on the Major League diamond, and plans are for installation sometime this summer, Baral said.
The 15th anniversary party will include a raffle. The “jersey” pillows will be among the items raffled off.
Tickets to the event are $25 and can be purchased online at westhartfordlittleleague.com.
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