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New Little League chief is as excited as the kids

April 18, 1998

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

HALFWAY - When the Little League season kicks off in Washington County today, there will be one rookie who won't be swinging a bat or pitching a fastball.

But Debbie Everts will be no less involved, no less excited and no less nervous than the hundreds of children taking the field. That's because Everts is the new administrator for Little League's District 1 in Maryland.

The Halfway resident plans to visit various league sites today - not so much to keep an eye on things but to give coaches, players and league officials a chance to know she's there.

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"I just want to make my rounds and let them know I am supporting them," said Everts, 44.

Her job is to oversee the 17 leagues that make up District 1, a territory that stretches across Western Maryland, to make sure they are operating according to official Little League standards and policies.

As far as Everts knows, she is the first woman to hold the title in Maryland, a distinction she acknowledges but doesn't advertise.

"I just want to do my job the best that it can be done, whether it be by a male or female," she said.

The position doesn't pay, but it is essentially a second full-time job for Everts, who works during the day as an office associate for Washington County. There are plenty of evenings, weekends and travel that come with keeping tabs on leagues that include a total of 5,000 children between the ages of 5 and 18.

Then there are the inevitable conflicts involving the upset parents who feels their child should have been part of an all-star team or moved to another team. Such complaints - and Everts is certain they will come - are the least-appealing aspects of the job.

Why, then, does she want to do it?

"It's here for the kids," Everts said.

Everts got involved in the program when her two children were in the Halfway Little League. Her husband, Denny, coached and she was a team mom, working the snack shack, ferrying kids to games and doing all the other things Little League parents do.

"You get to know everybody. You become a family here," Everts said.

From there she moved up the Little League ladder, eventually becoming league secretary at Halfway and then president for two years in the late 1980s.

Even though the boys are now both adults serving in the military, the parents haven't left the game. Denny Everts still umpires games and Debbie likes to stay involved in day-to-day activities. Just last week she mowed the fields at Halfway.

"We both got involved and still are. I think once it gets in your blood, it's hard to let go," Everts said.

For the past three years she has been working as senior league advisor for Jay Stouffer, who was District 1 administrator for the past 17 years before stepping down last year.

It was Stouffer who approached Everts last year about possibly becoming his replacement. She didn't accept immediately, mindful of the time commitment and potential headaches. She also knew she would be replacing a living legend.

"He's done a fantastic job. It's going to be difficult, I think, to fill his shoes, but I am going to give it my best shot," Everts said.

She will get help from Stouffer, who has stayed on the staff as senior league advisor.

"He made it easy," Everts said.

And she said she will still have time to enjoy the games, even more so than when her children were playing.

"I can sit back and relax now. There were times (when the boys were playing) I had to walk behind the dugout. I was too nervous to watch," Everts said.

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