OCEANSIDE — Three hundred and fifty baseball and softball players had to wait at least one more week for Oceanside Valley Little League opening day. Rain postponed the opening day ceremonies and carnival scheduled for Feb. 26.
Weather permitting, opening day will likely be rescheduled at Melba Bishop Park for March 5. The delay pushes the March to May season forward one week.
This year 31 teams of 4-year-old to 14-year-old players are signed up. “We’ve grown our league this year with softball registrations,” George Dala, Oceanside Valley Little League president, said.
This is the second year the league has included girls’ softball teams. Girls can play on the co-ed baseball teams, but many prefer all girl softball competition.
Boys and girls begin at age 4 in co-ed tee ball. “In tee ball more than half of the team members are girls,” Dala said.
After tee ball most girls choose softball over baseball with great results. Last year the girls’ 9-year-old to 10-year-old team went to state championship playoffs.
Another division waiting for the season to start is Challenger Little League. Children with physical and mental handicaps make up this division that accommodates the game for their special needs. “Children with Down syndrome and wheelchair bound, I love seeing these kids out there playing,” Dala said. “When they hit the ball and you see the excitement on their faces, it’s absolutely wonderful.”