Opening Day: Little League Starts Saturday

PLL to host softball state tourney in July

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The 75th anniversary season of Little League International promises to be a big one for Payson Little League.

The season begins with Opening Day action Saturday at Rumsey Park. It ends with Payson hosting the junior girls softball state tournament from July 15-25.

“It’s a very large tournament,” said first-year Payson Little League president Barbara Rasmussen. “It’s a bigger tournament than the Gracie Lee Haught Classic. We are anticipating over 2,000 people here in Payson for that tournament. There could be anywhere from 14 to 18 teams.”

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A girl catches a ball during this year’s Little League softball tryouts at the Kiwanis field.

Rasmussen said it will be the first state tournament Payson has hosted.

Payson might just compete in the state tournament since Payson Little League is fielding a girls junior softball team for the first time, according to Rasmussen.

Payson Little League will also host the boys baseball Major (11-12 year olds) District 1 Tournament just before the Fourth of July.

The 48th season of Payson Little League opens Saturday with games beginning at 8 a.m. at Rumsey Park. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Rasmussen said 272 kids have signed up to play in Payson Little League this season, which runs through the end of May before all-star teams are picked to represent the area in the area and district tournaments.

The president said PLL is seeking donations from businesses and individuals to help with the expenses of hosting the state tournament.

“There’s a lot of expense involved in the tournament, like umpire fees,” Rasmussen said. “Payson Little League will absorb the cost of the tournament. We’re hoping to get the businesses in Payson behind us because we’re bringing business into town. We’re looking for donations and sponsorships from business and people in Payson and Star Valley.”

Any individual or business that wants to help may call Rasmus­sen at (928) 978-3417 or drop off a donation at Scoops Ice Cream with owner Chris Higgins, who is a member of the Payson Little League board, or drop donations to Ken Schneider at American Sales in Payson.

PLL also plans on holding raffles during the tournament in an effort to defray the cost of hosting such a big event.

Donations also help PLL offer scholarships to participate in Little League to underprivileged kids. “We rely on donations from local businesses and people,” Rasmussen said.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help PLL this season should contact Rasmussen. “We always need volunteers for snack bars and umpires,” she said.

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