Little league workers in spring training

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

The Ironton Little League Field has been a flurry of activity the past few weeks, as workers — the majority of them volunteers — ready the field for the start of the season.

The annual tradition of tidying up has turned into an all out renovation mission this year, as crews put on new roofs for the senior and little league buildings, as well as the concession stand. There has also been fieldwork, plumbing upgrades, painting and interior work on the little league building.

Tom Walden, one of 12 little league board members and an Ironton insurance agent, said the work has been tedious for the volunteers, but there is a reason so many people give their time.

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“It’s for the kids. We all know what the little league means to the boys and girls,” said Walden, who has spent 25 years working with little leaguers. “Kids need some kind of structured play time and they are learning about the fundamentals of the game at the same time.”

He said the league teaches children skills that they can carry on throughout their lives, such as teamwork, discipline and structure.

Buck Skaggs was working at the site Friday trying to get the press box ready for baseball and softball tryouts Saturday and opening day, which is April 29.

Skaggs, of Greenup, was once a little leaguer himself.

“I just love baseball and I know that playing through little league really does build character,” he said.

Another volunteer, Chuck Renfroe, of Arabia, spent 31 years coaching teams, but says he still feels a need to give back to the community.

“Its just the love of the game. You get it in your blood and you want to give back,” he said.

Besides for the players, there are other reasons that league officials want to keep the grounds in tip-top shape.

“This is a place that the community has put so much support into,” he said. “We get so much support from people, it’s amazing.”

The little league is still looking for sponsors this year. They are selling 3-foot-by-4-foot signs with sponsors’ names on them to hang on the fences of the four fields at the site. Each is $75. They are also hoping to get donations for the replacement of the fencing around the facility; the price tag on that project is nearly $25,000.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map of Lawrence County and finds a story where it hits.