Old Rochester Youth Baseball swings into spring training
The spring season is on deck for the Old Rochester Youth Baseball league.
The league, which has Tri-Town players from four-year-old tee-ball players up to 12-year-olds, begins games in May.
League President Peter Vieira said that since last summer, the league has grown about 50%.
“We’ve actually grown over 100 players since the summer of 2020,” he said.
He attributed some of the growth to sports like football and soccer not being offered last fall, while the youth baseball league was able to play fall ball.
Vieira said that because teams have been able to play throughout the pandemic, the league has been able to carry over safety guidelines from season to season.
“So it’s actually a pretty easy transition at this point,” he said.
Vieira noted that some guidelines have actually become stricter since the start of the pandemic. He said that when baseball first resumed, players were allowed to have their masks off when they were far away from one another. Now, players have to be masked at all times on the field.
Vieira said he’s thankful the league has grown in the past year, and that he thinks baseball can bring kids a good sense of community, helping kids “not only learn about baseball, but learn about life in general.”
And because the league is co-ed, that sense of community can be extended to all kids.
He said that most of the girls in the league shift over to softball when it becomes available to them, but some keep playing baseball through the most senior division in the league — called the majors.
“There’s sixth grade girls playing in the majors division, and there’s no reason there shouldn’t be,” Vieira said.
The league focuses on teaching kids the fundamentals of baseball, which they can carry into high school if they keep playing.
Vieira said he’s not sure of the exact number of kids in the league who continue to play high school ball, “but whatever it is, I hope it grows.”
Between the league’s 24 teams, all named after local businesses, there are over 200 players — all from the Tri-Town and Wareham.
As the league expands, so does its venues. Vieira said that while league games have typically been held in Marion and Rochester, kids will be able to start playing in Mattapoisett soon.
And in an uncertain time, Vieira said he’s happy to see the baseball community growing.
“This is definitely a transitional period for many children,” he said.