The La Verne Girls Softball Association not only knows how to play great baseball, they also know how to throw a great season-opening party.
Under clear Chamber of Commerce skies on Saturday, Feb. 23, the league treated players, coaches, parents and fans to a full morning of festivities that included a hit-a-thon, the ceremonial first pitch, a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” team cheers, photo opps, balloons, dignitaries’ speeches, a great music mix and a full complement of vendors selling everything from pulled pork to personalized batting helmets.
“At the end of the day, this is all about family,” said Jake Dugger, who took over the league presidency last October.
Indeed, the atmosphere at Wheeler Park was electric and felt very much like a family reunion.
Dugger thanked his past and current boards and gave a special shout-out to his event coordinator Sheila-Al-Shatti.
“She did a great job, I think she killed it,” said Dugger.
Besides bringing perfect weather with him, Mayor Don Kendrick shared how he used to play softball during his six-hitch in the U.S. Navy. Meanwhile, Councilwoman Robin Carder pointed with pride to the new shelter covers over the bleachers that will provide fans protection against the rain in spring and sunburns in summer.
Hit-a-thon winners in each division collected gift baskets. Paula Acosta captured the hitting crown in the 14U divison.
Meanwhile, Michelle Bouleware raised $523 in pledges for the hit-a-thon, the most of any league player, earning $100 for her team’s party.
Board members and their positions for the 2013 season are:
- Jacob Dugger, president
- Frank Adams, umpire in charge
- Bridgette Henderson, uniforms and awards
- Sheila Al-Shatti, events coordinator
- Jason Goluskin, equipment manager
- John Marlarkey, player agent
- Evelyn Barba, snack bar coordinator
- Kaitlyn Malarkey, Player Liaison
“I didn’t know how much hard work was involved,” Dugger said, “but it’s all worth it when I see all the girls’ smiling faces.”
The first league games start March 2 at Wheeler Park at the corner of Arrow Hwy. and Wheeler.