Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - March 26, 2010

Batter up!

Little League, Pleasanton Girls Softball open season

by Jeb Bing

Pleasanton girls softball and the three boys Little Leagues opened their season Saturday, a week late because of heavy rain the week before that left Sports Park and the new Bernal Community Park fields too soggy for the heavy use the 2,500-plus players put on the grass.

A highlight of this season was on the new $7-million Bernal lighted fields, where the Pleasanton Foothill Little League threw out the first pitch after opening day ceremonies marked the first use of the fields.

Tomorrow, even with team play in full swing, the Pleasanton Girls Softball League (PGSL) will hold its official opening day ceremonies at 10 a.m. on Sports Park fields 6 and 7. League and individual team managers will salute the players in a celebration that includes a barbecue for fans and players.

At the Bernal park last Saturday, District 57 administrator Dave Wetmore, flanked by a majestic view of open space to the north and south of the lighted fields and the Ridgeland to the west, called it "truly one of the finest in the state, if not the country." He should know. In his position as head of one of the strongest Little League districts in California, he travels regularly to other city ballparks

Wetmore told the 250 fans and more than 700 players at the opening day ceremony that from Little League's founding in Pennsylvania in 1939, the organization has grown to now include nearly 100 countries and 2.8 million boys and girls from ages 5 to 18 years old. District 57 covers Little League teams in Pleasanton, Alamo, Danville, Livermore, San Ramon and Sunol.

Wetmore and the Foothill League president Lisa Skerl said the PFLL was organized in 1992 as a spin-off from the older Pleasanton American Little League and Pleasanton National Little League organizations, which could no longer accommodate the rapid population growth in Pleasanton. Generally, Little Leagues are organized to handle units of 20,000 populations. With Pleasanton now numbering about 68,000 residents, the city could see a fourth Little League organized if the population nears 80,000.

Teams in the two other leagues also held opening day ceremonies in the Sports Park where they'll play most of their games. With the Foothill league now playing all of its games on the Bernal fields, that has freed more fields in the 105-acre Sports Park, which have been filled to capacity.

Girls softball, which is celebrating its 33rd year, now has more than 1,000 players, a new record. With 75 teams, the girls play at Sports Park and also on the lighted Upper Bernal fields adjacent to Village High School at Bernal Avenue and First Street.

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