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Youth baseball programs wind down after successful regular seasons
by Aaron Retherford
Jun 04, 2013 | 2156 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- During the Blue Jays and Yankees' Farm division playoff game at Golden Eagle Regional Park, Kenyon, a member of the Blue Jays, makes contact with the ball.
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- During the Blue Jays and Yankees' Farm division playoff game at Golden Eagle Regional Park, Kenyon, a member of the Blue Jays, makes contact with the ball.
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Golden Eagle Regional Park’s Little League fields are going to be busy for the next week as Sparks Centennial Little League’s playoffs have started.

Four divisions of baseball and three divisions of softball will be using Golden Eagle for the majority of the postseason contests.

“Right now, what’s really cool is that we get to bring all the kids together, the girls and the boys. Because of the way the Golden Eagle facility is built, regardless of their age, the kids get to play all at the same place and the same time,” Sparks Centennial Little League president Steven Howe said. “We can move the mound and change the configuration of the field, so the girls and the boys can be out there at the same time. That’s a unique aspect for the softball kids. They don’t have to worry about dragging the fields. They can just show up and play on the turf.”

Howe said the spring has been a good one for Sparks Centennial.

“We played over 500 games and had very few issues. Every kid got at least 12 games in. Some got in as many as 22 games,” Howe said. “I think the growth pattern that most of the divisions showed was remarkable and it’s a testament to the coaches going to a preseason clinic at the university that they provided with some good skill sets. I couldn’t be happier to where the kids have risen to.”

The Sparks National Little League wrapped up the playoffs Monday night, and despite having lower numbers this season, league president Lori Robertson viewed the season as a success.

“It was a fabulous season. We just had a great group of kids. It always comes back to the kids. I just love them all,” Robertson said. “I think we just had a lot of fun this season. We got to go out to the Washoe tournament. We got to play some other city teams, which was a lot of fun. I just think there were a lot of positives this year.”

Sparks National was down to five teams at the Majors level, which forced teams to play each other over and over. That’s why the Washoe tournament was a welcome change.

Robertson believes part of the reason the numbers were down is because of economic reasons, even though the league provided scholarships to over 50 kids this year. Plus, Sparks National’s boundaries are within an older area of the city that isn’t growing.

Still, Robertson is excited about the upcoming All-Star tournaments.

“I’m excited. I talked to some of the kids last night and they’re excited. We can’t wait to get to Carson,” Robertson said.

District I All-Star tournaments for the 10- and 11-year-olds begin June 26, while the 12-year-olds start June 29 in Carson.

Spanish Springs Cal Ripken is nearing the end of its season as well. Closing ceremonies are June 12.

The Majors and AAA divisions have playoff games this week.
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