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New decade brings challenges to little league

With 2010 ushering in a new decade and baseball/softball season almost two months away, Unicoi County Little League Board of Directors are busy preparing for the upcoming season.
Each year new rules are handed down from Little League International with some years being more drastic than others. This year is fairly calm so far, but Little League Congress will meet in Lexington, Kentucky March 12-15 and some big changes are on the agenda possibly being in play this season.
Unicoi County Little League has also been looking at some local changes. The Board of Directors has been researching on splitting the Major Baseball Division into two age groups, 9-10 and 11-12. We have discussed this with others leagues, 2010 coach candidates and the Tennessee District 5 Administrator. We now want to hear from the parents, UCLL will be hosting a forum with information to educate all those interested followed by a question answer session. The forum will be held Monday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at Erwin City Hall. A final vote by the Board of Directors is on the UCLL agenda Feb. 3 meeting. We invite anyone interested to attend this forum.
Registration dates have been set for all divisions of Baseball and Softball ages 4-13 years old, Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 18 5:30 p.m. in the upstairs Conference Room located above the main concession stand at Kiwanis Park on South Main Avenue.
Little League International has recently announced a new baseball pilot division for ages 12- and 13-year-old players, our fields do not allow us to participate hosting any games but interested teams/players will inter-league with other leagues in District 5. During the 2010 pilot program these players will be allowed to participate in both the 9/12 Major Division, the 13/14 Jr. League Division and the 12/13 Pilot Division.
UCLL has not changed participation prices in more than 10 years, even though expenses rose. We are a self supportive organization offering a safe environment for your children to learn good sportsmanship and play the game. Fundraisers are very important to the operation of our league, this year we will be selling onions and sports cups, order forms will be handed out as players register.
2010 will be a busy year with the installation of a new set of Musco field lights on the baseball field won in 2008. We will also be rewiring the Softball field lights and building to eliminate the interruption of blackouts during games. The Minor League field will be receiving a new grass infield with holes filled, sprinkler system revitalized and re-sodded.
The 2010 Tennessee 11/12 State Tournament will be hosted in Tennessee District 5, UCLL is working hard to receive the honor to host this tournament. UCLL has hosted many state softball tournaments but has not hosted an 11/12 baseball tournament. Each tournament UCLL is awarded we help give back to Unicoi County’s revenue thru hotel accommodations, fuel sold and restaurant visits. The businesses and citizens of Unicoi County are supportive of our league and for that we say “THANK YOU.”
We invite all parents and those interested to visit Unicoi County Little League Web site, for league updates, games schedules and more as they come available, with links to Little League International, Tennessee District 5, and TND5UA.
Little League International offer various awards, Volunteer of the Year, Mom of the Year and Good Sportsman of the Year. These are national awards with winners being invited to Williamsport, Pa. and being introduced during the World Series in August. For more details and entry forms can be found on Little League International Web site.
As the new decade begins we look forward to an exciting 10 years of Baseball/Softball, but we can not forget the past decade produced four State Softball Championships, a great effort at the Southern Regional Softball Championship and the National A.S.A.P. Safety Plan Award for Unicoi County Little League.
We invite everyone to come out and support your local Little League program.