Little League opening day is a major league success


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Every position in Little League is filled by a volunteer, from the players to the president herself. Pictured here, from left, are volunteers Charlie Gutierrez, Jenn Underwood, Leah McCombs, Jonathan McCombs, Devon Pishalski, Cole Smith, Anthony Iannaccone, Cris Smith, Jack Pszczola and Victoria McDavid, all of whom were present at Viera Suntree Little League’s Opening Day March 1 at Viera Regional Park.

Viera Voice Rae Botsford

Viera Suntree Little League (VSLL) held its annual opening day on March 1 at Viera Regional Park. Volunteers, sponsors and hundreds of T-ball, softball and baseball players gathered to kick off the season.

Besides a parade of all the teams and enough concurrent Little League ballgames to fill the fields, the event boasted a dunk tank, a K9 demonstration, vendor tables and plenty of food. The Viera High School baseball team and Manny, the mascot of the Brevard Manatees, also were present.

Every job in Little League is filled by a volunteer, from players to team moms to the president herself. Volunteers help with concessions, uniforms, scheduling, coaching, team management and leadership. “I have a board of about 20 people that I can just completely trust to do anything,” said Cris Smith, president of VSLL.

Leah McCombs, team mom coordinator and Smith’s twin sister, estimates they have about 65 team moms. “They actually have a lot of responsibilities with selling the discount cards, making sure the concessions are manned, snacks, pretty much all the background stuff that goes into the teams,” McCombs said.

VIERA VOICE Rae Botsford
Twin sisters Leah McCombs and Cris Smith are deeply committed to their local Little League. McCombs is the team mom coordinator and Smith is the president of Viera Suntree Little League, which had its Opening Day on Saturday, March 1 at Viera Regional Park.

Donors are just as necessary. VSLL used donations to fix their two batting cages this year and to add two more. Ocean Potion always provides plenty of sunscreen, and Pizza Gallery & Grill and Dick’s Sporting Goods are constant supporters of the league. This year, eBay Enterprise donated $1,500 to the league on behalf of employee Susan Mayer.  And every single one of VSLL’s 57 teams has a team sponsor.

Why do people contribute so much?

For players like 14-year-old Kyler Doane, who has been part of the league for half his life. Though he started in T-Ball, his favorite part now is being the pitcher. “Curveball’s pretty funny,” he said impishly. “You can make people whiff on that.”

VSLL has two new baseball divisions this year — big league and 50/70 — for a total of eight divisions. T-Ball is its own division, and softball has three divisions. Players range from 4 to 18 years old.

For more information about the Viera Suntree Little League, go to vierasuntreelittleleague.org.