Members of the Greater Sealy Little League walked onto the field Saturday for the opening ceremony high-fiving members of the Sealy High School softball team and Athletic Director Shane Mobley.
“A lot of these ladies and boys on our baseball team stood exactly where you guys are right now,” Mobley told the players and crowd. “Some of their favorite memories happened right here so stay as a group, have fun and no matter what happens, you always give your best.”
Saturday marked the first time Greater Sealy Little League teams began playing at home in the 2018 season and the excitement was apparent by the turnout of players, parents and friends who numbered in the hundreds.
The day began with a parade of 39 teams with their players and coaches led by parade marshal Kelly Zapalac at B&PW Park. The parade led into the opening ceremony and the teams lined up around the diamond with Mobley and Sealy Little League President Joel Grigar.
An hour after the ceremony ended, games began at multiple fields. Players ranged from the ages of four to 14 and included both baseball and softball teams. Kids 4 to 6 years old play together on the tee ball team.
For Grigar, opening day was the accumulation of months of hard work to ensure everything was set for the 2018 season.
“There’s a lot of planning that goes into this and it started back in November with the help of the whole board to get everything straight with the local district and the Little League headquarters in Pennsylvania and all that behind the scenes stuff takes a lot of time,” Grigar said. “It’s worth it every time because all the hours we volunteer mean we want our kids to be out here and have a good time and learn good life lessons.”
Grigar said he enjoys the role Little League plays in developing its players’ values that can help them later in life.
Games were played throughout the day with the last game starting at 5 p.m. Several businesses came out to set up food trucks and booths and the local Boy Scouts had a concession stand.
For Grigar and the Sealy Little League board, coaches and players, opening day was a welcome return to the sport.
“Once opening day is over, all the hard work is done behind the scenes and all of it leads up to now and we can kick back a little bit and just play ball,” Grigar said.