Opening Day For Little Leaguers

A Florida Marlins player takes the D’Backs pitcher down with him on this slide into home plate. The runner was declared safe by the umpire.

A Florida Marlins player takes the D’Backs pitcher down with him on this slide into home plate. The runner was declared safe by the umpire. |

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

A face painter was on hand Saturday as part of Little League’s opening day festivities. Austin Rice shows his team spirit with a New York Yankees logo.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

A face painter was on hand Saturday as part of Little League’s opening day festivities. Kelsie Rose sports a horse head on her cheek.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Drew Micolitus, of the D’Backs, keeps his eyes on the ball as he attempts a first-base out.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Sadie Dunman winds up and pitches another zinger as the Gators battled it out against the Tigers.

Little League opening day ceremonies got off to a rip roaring start April 18 on Rumsey III ball field.

Just as League officials promised, there were plenty of old-fashioned, small-town activities that proved fun for all.

“It was fantastic,” said Little League president Slade Gibson.

Also, opening day baseball and softball games began at 9 a.m. and continued until 7 p.m.

Most all of the 300 boys and girls who turned out Feb. 28 for tryouts played in the games.

A pair of bounce houses were available for the younger set, and lip-smacking refreshments were sold. The Payson Fire Department made an appearance, and local police officers employed their speed guns to time pitchers rather than pull over speeders.

Also, radio station KMOG broadcast live from the parks.

Dax Jones, who made his major league debut in 1996 with the San Francisco Giants and later played briefly for the Houston Astros, also visited to give lessons and sign autographs.

“He worked with several of the kids,” Gibson said.

Several raffles and auctions were also held.

All proceeds earned benefit the local Little League program.

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