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Season opens on a larger Cal Ripken league

Mets Coach Scott Burns gives his team a pre-game pep talk at Prescott Park. For a full listing of the day’s wins and losses, check B9. Sarah Schmidt. (click for larger version)
May 14, 2009
MEREDITH — Opening Day 2009 for the Cal Ripken League dawned on a new, larger league of boys and girls as they joined forces with teams in neighboring towns.

After the 2008 season, leaders in the baseball leagues in Sandwich, Meredith, and Moultonboro decided to band together to form a larger league. The new league, with 120 players, will allow them to play different teams in different places.

"This is a good day for baseball, for the kids, now that we've got 120 kids in the league," said Jim Sheehan, vice president of the Cal Ripken League in Meredith. "We can play other teams, rather than playing ourselves over and over again. We can play 15 games, and just play each team twice."

Sheehan added the hope that this could allow them to play more games, and even host some informal tournaments for the players.

The Cal Ripken League in Meredith has a minor, major, and farm league playing, with many games played on the Prescott Park fields. Cal Ripken League President Scott Burns said that this gave the kids to play different teams on different turf, within a few miles.

"It's working out really good," said Burns. "The kids travel a bit and play different fields."

Opening Day for the Meredith Cal Ripken League dawned a little bit wet, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the players as they took to the fields. With the traditional cry of "Play Ball!," the 2009 season began, and the first pitches of the season were thrown. Starting with the minor leagues, the kids played double headers, from the morning until late in the afternoon.

The emphasis on the sport, as Burns told the Mets team he coached, was to "just have fun," and learn how to play the game.

"We'll get to see more skill levels to play, more challenging players, maybe," said Nick Brothers, 11, a player for the Orioles major league team. "This is one of my favorite sports, definitely."

The season will continue during the next months. On Saturday, May 30, the league will hold its Home Run Derby, begun with a parade through Meredith's Main Street in the morning. The day will continue at Prescott Park with concessions and games for the league to play.

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