The Arlington Youth Baseball league saw 115 children ages four through 12 participate this season, which was a great number for the small town, according to President Kate Bryan.
"Seven years ago when I took over we had 68 kids in the league," said Bryan. "Keeping people engaged throughout the different levels is what's made our program stronger."
Arlington saw an increase at the t-ball level, where they had 36 kids participating on four teams.
"Every Saturday morning started off great," said Bryan. "We had a lots of smiles and excitement during Saturday morning
The league also had a rookie league (seven and eight year olds), two minor league teams (nine and ten year olds and a major league team, the Pirates, which featured 11 and 12 year olds. The Arlington Pirates came in second place during the regular season and second place in the local championship, playing against teams from Manchester. The Pirates featured players from Sandgate, Sunderland, Shaftsbury and Arlington.
"We really wanted to create an environment of family and enjoyment," said Bryan. "We we were able to offer concessions stands so people were coming to the ball park for dinner. It was a family, group effort. We had games four days a week at the Cal Ripken field."
Unfortunately, the Arlington league does not
"I have a lot of great ballplayers coming out of Arlington," said Bryan. "I look forward to watching them grow throughout the years."
In Manchester, the League also wound down their season over the weekend, holding closing ceremonies and championship games for the minor and major league level.
At the minor league level, the VFW team defeated the Vermont Country Store team to capture the league title. At the major league level, the Manchester Rotary team defeated the Arlington Pirates to capture that title.
The Manchester Youth Baseball league had 146 players participating in 13 teams in the four different divisions (t-ball, triple-a, minor and majors). New to the main little league field this season was a new electronic scoreboard and safety caps on the fences. Also new this year was a spring tune up clinic, which got kids out throwing and practicing at the Riley Rink before the season started.
"We had four or five Saturdays and we had stations set up for throwing, hitting, doing infield practice, stuff like that," said Manchester Youth Baseball President Pete Cottrell. "It seemed to be a pretty popular event. We probably averaged about 100 kids there each Saturday."
With the end of the local league play, the Manchester league is looking forward to the start of the All Star season.
This year Manchester will host the 12 and under Cal Ripken District #3 Tournament on Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, June 24. Teams from Manchester, West Rutland and Long Trail (Wallingford area) will fight for the right to go to the Cal Ripken State Tournament on July 6-8 in Hartford.
The 10 and under All Star team from Manchester will head to the District #3 Tournament in Wallingford, where it will be held on June 29 through July 1. The winner of that tournament would go on to the 10 and under state tournament in Glover, Vt.
"Our hope is that we can get through the districts and compete strongly in the state tournament," said Cottrell. "I think if we can make a strong showing in the states and win the states that would be great, but if we don't and just compete strongly, we're fine with that."
In addition to the division and state tournaments, Manchester Youth Baseball is looking to host a couple of independent tournaments to get the players more time on the field and getting more people to enjoy the facilities which have been so recently improved.
"We are trying to start a possible annual tournament," said Cottrell. "We've got a nice area for people to come too, so people can come up for the weekend and play a little baseball. We want to start that process of getting some tournament action here in town."
With another successful season under their belts, the Manchester Youth Baseball league is watching out for their local All Stars in postseason play.