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Kids take a swing at Little League

March 14, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

Eight-year-old Jorge Rios paced back and forth in the dugout anxiously awaiting his turn to bat on day two of this year's American Little League tryouts at Brandenburg Field Sunday afternoon.

"I hope to make it this year," he said, as his parents watched from the stands.

His dad, Jorge Rios Sr., said he was a little nervous for his son, who was trying out for Little League for the first time.

"We love sports, and he'll do good," he said with a proud grin.

Rios was one of several parents in the stands rooting for their children. A few seats away, Angela Danner, an avid sports fan, watched intently as her 9-year-old son, Tim Black, caught balls in the field with other players following his first tryout.

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"He had good form, he just didn't make contact with the ball. If they give him another chance, he'll get it," Danner said.

During Sunday's tryouts, players were given multiple chances to hit balls pitched from a pitching machine as team coaches and managers observed their performance.

"It gives them the same pitch, so they all have the same advantages. It's the same speed and the same location every time. It's the fairest way to do it, unless you let them hit off a tee," said League Safety Officer Tim Hoover.

And while participation was slightly lower than last year, parents and supporters on hand were excited to get the season started, officials said.

"There's some good talent out there," said Hoover, who has been working with area Little League teams for six years.

About 155 boys and girls ages 5 to 12 have registered so far for this year's American Little League season, which kicks off April 16 and will run through July, said American Little League President Leon C. Fearnow. Free registration and tryouts also will be held tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Brandenburg Field on Mill Street.

The American Little League is open to children from a specific geographic area of the city. Parents must provide three proofs of residency and a birth certificate to verify their child's age, Fearnow added. Little League tryouts will conclude on Wednesday night at Brandenburg Field. Minor league tryouts will start at 6 p.m. that day for 7-year-olds.

American is one of many District 1 Little League organizations in the county.

For more information, call American Little League player agent Robbin Hamilton at 301-797-9059.

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