Let’s play ball


Pendleton Junior Baseball/Softball opens season with parade, 30 games in one day

PENDLETON — The candy thrown during a parade in Pendleton on Saturday morning might have been traveling farther and faster than during your average parade.
That’s because the arms tossing it belong to players of Pendleton Junior Baseball/Softball, during the league’s opening day festivities.
“It’s up this year,” league President Brandon Godbey said of participation numbers, estimating about 900 players signed up to play ball this season. That represents an increase of about 150 players compared to last year, he said.
The league has 60 teams comprised of boys ages 5-15 and girls ages 5-18. It also includes the Pendleton Arabians travel teams and the Champions League for players with mixed abilities.
On Saturday morning, players and coaches paraded through town, starting at 10 a.m. at Pendleton Elementary School-Intermediate, following a route along High, Main and State streets, Pendleton Avenue and Falls Park Drive and into the Sports Complex.
The parade route was lined with people most of the way, with crowds getting denser at the entrance to Falls Park and again at the complex.
Once inside the complex, PJBS celebrated its opening ceremonies — including the first pitch from immediate past president Todd Miller to player Cal Fesler.
Teams gathered in the outfield along the grass line of Diamond No. 2 to watch the first pitch and listen to words from Godbey.
He shared a personal story about the death of his nephew, Jake Godbey, last year at age 25, and how some of the friends Jake made playing baseball, starting with T-ball, came to the funeral. Several were pallbearers.
“It reminded me of what it’s all about,” Godbey said, asking everyone to go out and have fun, compete, but remember the importance of friendship and sportsmanship.
After ceremonies, there was about 45 minutes before games started at noon. All eight of the complex’s diamonds were used during the day.
Godbey said 30 games were scheduled for Saturday among various levels: coach’s pitch, rookie, minor and major.
Travel play began in March. Champions League begins play Saturday, May 4. There’s a Senior level that starts May 18.
PJBS games will be played through the end of June, when the season wraps up with a tournament, Godbey said.
Play doesn’t stop then for everyone, though, he said. There’s a smaller fall league for those who want to play on.
On Saturday, the final game didn’t end until after 11 p.m., Godbey said.
Opening day creates a lot of good memories, he said, and is possible thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication.
“The whole community pulls together,” he said. “I think that’s what also makes it special.”

No posts to display