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CAL RIPKEN BASEBALL KICKS OFF ON GUAM

Approximately 500 youth players signed up to play ball

By Paradis Jolie Fejerang

Saturday morning, hundreds of coaches, supporters, and young athletes participated in cheering and a parade around freshly painted Mangilao Baseball Field to commence the Cal Ripken Opening Ceremony. 

Despite the heat, spectators and athletes stood respectfully to allow each team their moment to step onto the field and make their way around beginning from the 4-6 year olds and into the teenage division. 

With participation in sports at a young age being greatly beneficial for a child’s mental and physical health, support and encouragement for the young athletes in the league has been largely supported by the leading representatives of the community with multiple mayors and vice-mayors taking the time to represent their villages’ team/s not just during the opening but in preparation for the season. 

After a massive effort to fit everyone together for a group picture, the main field was cleared in preparation for the first game of the season. To further commemorate the occasion, Senator Chris Barnett was asked to throw the first pitch of the season with a member of the first team to step on the pitch of the season, the Lil Prims’ ages 4-6 team, receiving the pitch. 

Coach of the Lil Prims 4-6 yr. old team, Benu Bamba, led his little catcher through the motions and shares that as his first time taking part in such a festivity has been interesting, especially with his sons in attendance, but part of the older age groups.

As Coach Bamba’s team prepared to take the field as the first game of the season against the Dirt Devils, Mike Peredo, manager of the Dirt Devils’ teams from the ages 4-10 shares his excitement for the start of the season. 

“I’m just happy that [these kids] came out [for the team]…We get full support from our parents,” Peredo says, ensuring the importance of supporters for the young athletes. 

In regard to how the athletes, themselves, are feeling: “They’re excited to just be wearing the uniform.”

Especially as there are a multitude of little ones who are taking part in a sport for the first time, a lot of learning is happening and there is a ton of excitement just to step onto the diamond for the first time. On behalf of his team with a sentimental note before the first game of the season begins, Peredo expresses, “we’re happy that baseball is back again and we hope [all the athletes] enjoy the season as well as the coaches.”

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