Little League Opening Day Is April 19

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The boys of summer will soon be sprinting onto Rim Country diamonds.

It all begins at 1:30 p.m. April 19 when Payson League Little hosts its annual opening day ceremonies at Rumsey Park.

New to the program this season will be the addition of girls fastpitch softball to the existing baseball offering.

Softball was added last spring after Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman and a group of parents led the charge to bring the sport to the Rim Country where it, in a Little League program, has not been previously offered.

Throughout opening day, there will be baseball games on Rumsey I and III, and softball on Rumsey II. Games begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 8:30 p.m.

Little League president Slade Gibson said he was expecting an exciting opening day, and issued an invitation to all fans, parents and grandparents to turn out and enjoy the festivities.

This season, in the coach-pitch baseball league, Payson will field four teams -- the Rangers, Yankees, Angels and Blue Jays.

The Minor division is the largest in the league with five teams. Playing will be the Giants, Reds, Rockies, Twins and White Sox.

In the Major division are the Dodgers, D-backs, As and Nationals.

During the course of the regular season, games will be played at the three Rumsey fields and at Kiwanis West and Kiwanis East, located on the southwestern portion of Rumsey.

In addition to Little League heating up local ball fields, several organizations will be hosting tournaments locally.

Arizona USSSA will hold the Memorial Day Classic girls tournament May 24 and 25. All age divisions, 14-and-under to 18-and-under, will participate.

USSSA will be a relatively new tournament sponsor in Payson. In past years, ASA has been the only national organization to host local tournaments.

Also, Triple Crown, which hosted a girls fast-pitch tournament last summer at Rumsey, is negotiating with the Payson Parks and Recreation department to host another shoot-out this summer.

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