Spring may have officially started last month, but this weekend it really arrives with Payson Little League opening day Saturday, April 14 in North Rumsey Park. The day includes the first games of the season for the 250 youngsters, ages 5 to 12, who are participating on 20 different teams, plus special events to mark the day.
A series of 11 games is scheduled to be played, starting at 8:15 a.m. with the coach pitch teams of Diamondbacks vs. Pirates on Rumsey 2 and running until around 8:30 p.m., the estimated end of the matchup between the baseball major teams of A’s vs. Phillies on Rumsey 3 (see full schedule at right — games will be played unless there is lightning or the fields become too soggy).
Opening ceremonies will be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Rumsey 3. The ceremonies will include team photos, silent auctions, raffles, food from Scoops and other refreshments, a bounce house and more. Team members will be selling tickets to the Diamondbacks’ June 10 game vs. the A’s — this is the game designated for Little League, teams will attend in uniform and be introduced on Diamondbacks’ field, according to Keeley Parker of the Payson Little League. The organization will get a percentage of the tickets sold by area team members, she said.
Payson’s 20 teams include five baseball minors teams, with members usually from age 8 to 11; four baseball majors teams, members are generally from 10 to 12; three softball minors teams; two softball majors teams; and six coach pitch teams, with members ages 5 to 7. Parker said a player’s placement on a given team is determined through the league’s draft and tryouts, which were held earlier in the year.
Games will be played Monday through Saturday. Parker said the coach pitch games are about an hour; minors games are 90 minutes; and majors games are two hours. While opening day games will be on Rumsey 2 and 3, the regular games will be played on either Rumsey 1, across from the Payson Public Library at 328 N. McLane Road, or Rumsey 3 in North Rumsey Park. The season will concluded with tournament play the first week of June, Parker said.