Youth baseball warms up for summer play

May 1, 2021

Summer is just around the corner, and early signs are beginning to pop up around Dartmouth. 

Youth baseball is returning to the diamonds at Crapo Field.

On May 1, the Dartmouth Youth Activities Association started the season off with a rating clinic to assemble the league’s teams based on the young players’ fielding, hitting, and baserunning abilities.

“Some of these kids usually don’t even want to come out of their rooms,” League president Harvey Berube laughed. “It’s nice that so many kids came out to try out.”

According to Berube, rosters should be ready during the next week “and then they’ll be practicing by Saturday.” 

Junior and Little League will lead off the youth baseball seasons on May 23, with T-ball and Pony League games on deck for June 6 and 14 respectively. 

Much like 2020, Berube said this season will operate under pandemic guidelines, meaning the league will determine which teams will play on which fields since players won’t have enough space in the dugouts because of distancing rules.

Along with spacing, there will be no sharing of equipment, aside from baseball bats.

If a player does need equipment such as a helmet, the team will provide the player with one, but they will have to keep it for the remainder of the season.

New this season is the inclusion of 4-year-olds to the T-ball league. Berube noted that with the eligibility expansion league officials hope “this will make the kids a little more ready as they move up a level.” 

“It’s a change, but I hope it will work,” he added.

According to the league president, 140 kids have signed up for T-ball this year.

“T-ball exploded,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy this year, but that’s good.”  

While Covid-era rules remain in effect, parents and players said they were just happy to be back to baseball.

Manny Washburn Jr., 8,  said he had fun getting some swings in during the Saturday morning clinic, adding that he really “liked hitting the ball.”

For resident Rachel Seeley, her 7- and 14-year-olds' return to diamond adds a “nice return to normal” amid the pandemic. She added that her youngest, Sawyer, was especially excited for the rating clinic, saying that he tried to get in some extra practice the night before and put his gear on right away to start the morning.

“Anything to get moving and back to his friends,” she said. “It’s a great group of people — we’re so lucky to have this league.”