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Players are high priority at Valley

April 30, 2006|By CHRIS CARTER - Staff Correspondent

CHEWSVILLE

Valley Little League celebrated its 50th anniversary Saturday morning while holding opening ceremonies for the 2006 season.

Members of Valley's 2005 11-12 District 1 championship team threw out the ceremonial first pitch as each of the teams looked on from the outfield fence at Aaron Steiner Field.

"The main focus is the kids. If it weren't for the kids, we wouldn't be here today," said Valley president Brian Stone, addressing parents, coaches and players.

Valley plans to dedicate its golden anniversary to its future with subtle improvements to its facilities. Space has already been cleared to create additional parking. It will also upgrade the concessions stand and there are hopes of replacing or renovating the bleachers and dugouts.

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"There are just so many things we want to do here that makes it a better place for the kids," Stone said. "Because we're responsible for the field and maintenance, there's a lot we can do."

Unlike some of the other little leagues in the area, Valley is not owned or funded by the county, city or state, leaving upkeep duties to the Valley community.

"We've survived for so long on shear dedication and participation," Stone said. "Only through hard work could we do the things we've done here. We rely solely on donations and I can't say enough about the parents here."

The first opening day in Valley Little League history took place on June 28, 1957 with just four teams. The league's forefathers were president Richard Givens, vice president Rev. Romer Kendahl, secretary Norman Haines, treasurer George Williams and player agent Robert Hammersla.

Now, in its 50th year, Valley has grown to six leagues - Senior, Junior, Major, Minor, 7-8 Year Old, and T-Ball - consisting of 23 teams.

"Back in 1957, the folks here gave the kids in Chewsville the opportunity to play baseball," Stone said in his address. " ... I wish they could see us now."

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