Imagine–it was Pacific Little League (PLL) Day on Saturday, 28 April, at Lynndale Park near Lynndale Elementary School. There were games, a fun Parade of Players onto Harry H. Moore Field, and a ceremony. The organizers honored the nation’s military during the ceremony by inviting all military personel (active, reserve, retired and veterans) to join the players on the field to honor and thank them for their service. “We want our players to understand how important these men and women are to us,” it said on the PLL website (see www.pacificlittleleague.com).
Seventeen military personel came onto the field and stood along the 3rd base line. The color guard of VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood hoisted the American flag on the center field pole, as the post bugler (me) sounded the bugle call, “To the Color.” Jaymie Studioso then sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” and Captain Barry Crane, USN, gave the opening prayer. Capt. Crane is Deputy Region Chaplain for Navy Region Northwest and North Sound Church lead Pastor. The color guard of three veterans then joined their 17 comrades on the field.
Next, Capt. Crane assisted seven little league ball players in reading a tribute to military men and women written by Mike Schindler (see photos to left and below). Spider Avdeyev read, “Only one percent of Americans answers the call to serve our country [in the military].” Nick Avdeyev read that the U.S. military is comprised of paid volunteers. Presley Denkinger read a tribute to the Army, our oldest military branch, responsible for land-based military operations since 1775. Gabe Avdeyev read about the Navy, the battle fleet tonnage of which is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. A statement about the Marine Corps, a Navy component which has served in every American armed conflict, was read by Jordan Sims. Then Baylor Denkinger read about the Air Force, the most recent military branch and the most technologically advanced air force in the world. Finally, Madi Sheldon read the tribute to the Coast Guard, our oldest continuous seagoing service, responsible for enforcing U.S. law in 3.4 million square miles of ocean.
Founded in 1965, the Pacific Little League now involves more than 800 boys and girls between 5-18 years old playing baseball and softball. In the past 48 years, this volunteer-based organization has provided services to over 20,000 boys and girls in the greater Edmonds/Lynnwood area, impacting an estimated 10,000 families. The Echelbarger Fieldhouse was built in 2000 with more than $300,000 in donated funds. Lights were added to Fields 1 and 2 in 2001, and to Field 3 in 2005. Ventilation, gas grills and ovens were added to the fieldhouse kitchen in 2005. The Pacific Little League paid for all facilities by “Capital Improvement Fundraising.” No taxpayer dollars were used. See www.pacificlittleleague.com for more information on the teams, divisions, tournaments, and game schedules.
Photos are courtesy of the Pacific Little League. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.