There seems to be some sort of pervasive belief, said Sequim resident Nick Simpson, that baseball as a viable youth sport in Sequim is dying.
But with more than 200 boys and girls participating with Sequim little League teams last year and a strong showing from early registrations this year, Simpson said, the league president says the sports is strong and looking to grow in 2020 and beyond.
Sequim Little League hosted its final in-person assessment for players on Feb. 1 but will have registration open for players through Monday Feb. 17 (see www.sequimlittleleague.com for details).
The league will host two upcoming work parties — set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, March 7 — to help prep for the upcoming season at the fields at 124 W. Silberhorn Road. A call to volunteer arms last year saw about 75 people turn out to help mow grass, paint, weed and perform other regular maintenance on the fields and buildings.
“We owe it to (Sequim youths) to give them a place to be a kid,” Simpson said.
Sports, and baseball in particular, can be a big deal for youths of all levels of skill and background, he said, instilling a sense of confidence while being in a safe environment.
“We don’t tolerate bullying; (we’re there) to be mentors for kids,” Simpson says.
Simpson, who cut his teeth as Sequim Little League president for the first time last year, said the league’s board is a strong and active one. The board agreed to add an intermediate team for 13-year-old boys. Last year, the league saw two players who were too old for Little League but, based on their birth dates were too young for Babe Ruth play. This team, he said, helps fill that gap, with boys aged 11-13 eligible.
Sequim Little League has enjoyed a good relationship with the City of Sequim, who owns the field and has helped with various projects over the years, Simpson said. Ty Brown and other city staff have been exceptional in help maintain the fields, Simpson said, including donation of outfield fence toppers and tools.
But Sequim little League’s facilities still need some TLC, he said.
“One of the biggest goals is to improve the fields,” Simpson said.
“The biggest thing is, the batting cages are in bad shape,” he said. If the league could get even partial covering of the cages that would help teams and players get some batting practice in, even on days with wet weather or high winds.
The board is working on a five-year plan, Simpson said, and a goal he’d like to see fulfilled is to bring a District 2 all-star tournament to the Sequim fields, with concessions sold helping raise funds for future projects and maintenance.
To get the fields ready for an all star tourney? “That’s going to take a small army,” Simpson said.
Little League players may be interested in an upcoming Sequim High School baseball and softball skills clinic slated for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, March 15, hosted at the Little League fields. The clinic, designed for players of ages 8-15, costs $30 per player; softball players receive a T-shirt with the fee while baseball players get a cap. Registration begins at 10 a.m.
Sequim Little League’s opening day festivities are set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, at the fields. Simpson said he’s excited to bring a number of amenities — cotton candy and popcorn for all, a photo selfie station, a pitching contest (with radar gun) and lunch for players — along with possibly visits from local first responders (police, firefighters) to make the day inviting to the whole community, not just Little League families.