Pleasanton's two little leagues plan to merge into one organization under the Pleasanton Little League name starting with the upcoming season, league officials announced this week.
The boards of directors for Pleasanton Little League and Pleasanton Foothill Little League have approved the merger, as have California District 57 officials. All that remains is a final endorsement from Little League International.
The consolidation would give Pleasanton a single Little League organization -- a city that three years ago had three distinct little leagues. Then, Pleasanton American and Pleasanton National little leagues merged to form the new Pleasanton Little League heading into the 2016 season, a move aimed at strengthening competition amid declining participation for each league separately.
League leaders hope the new merger for the 2019 season can provide the same positives for youth baseball in all of Pleasanton.
"The new organization should have over 800 children playing either T-ball or baseball this upcoming spring season," said Peter Easton, the newly elected Pleasanton Little League president. "The biggest winners in this merger are the players and their families. There will now be more teams in each age group and a better opportunity for all kids to play with and against their friends."
Like leagues throughout the country, organizations in Pleasanton have been striving to keep boys and girls interested in Little League baseball rather than other sports or travel baseball leagues.
"Both organizations were facing similar struggles as there has been a decrease in the number of players over the last couple seasons," PLL vice president Craig LeMessurier said.
"The popularity of youth baseball may not have changed but many players have left Little League to play on travel ball teams," he added. "Additionally, we have been severely challenged by dwindling volunteer numbers. We hope this merger will re-engage the members as the players deserve a healthy and competitive league that is supported by the community."
The combined league, which will serve players from 5 to 16 years old throughout Pleasanton, also aims to create a culture of city pride while increasing competition and volunteers, according to Easton.
"The merger also unites the volunteer base from both leagues, which will continue to be the lifeblood of the new organization," he added. "We rely heavily on volunteers for a number of operational functions, including fundraising, training, field maintenance, event coordination, equipment management and most importantly, coaching."
A town hall meeting has been scheduled for current and prospective members of the new Pleasanton Little League, with the newly elected board of directors on-hand to answer questions and address any concerns. The event is set for 7-9 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Pleasanton Middle School multipurpose room at 5001 Case Ave.
The new league plans to maintain the Pleasanton Little League website, www.pleasantonlittleleague.com, moving forward.