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Madison Little League, which kicked off its 60th season Saturday, has one guiding principal, says Little League President Scott Murphy.
"Our guiding principal is a simple one," he told a crowd of about 800 children, their parents, and numerous volunteers Saturday at Jaycee Field on Scotland Road. "It's all about the children."
Supporting those children as they embarked on their new season were a host of volunteer, local officials and town organizations, including the Madison Hose Co. No. 1, the Madison Police Department, and the Chamber of Commerce, headed by Eileen Banisch, who wore her special sneakers for Saturday's opening day. The tops look like the leather was stripped from a baseball.
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Local officials in attendance Saturday included state Rep. Noreen Kokoruda, First Selectman Fillmore McPherson, and Selectman Joan Walker, who threw out the first pitch along with Peter Lemley, who got involved with Little League when he was 11 years old and has been participating ever since.
Now 65, he remembers vividly playing as a pitcher and shortstop for the Giants with his brother Tom, who was the catcher. He remembers the victories and defeats and a few times he caught a lucky break. He recalled one critical game when he was on second base and someone hit a single. Lemley ran past third and kept going. He was sure he was out when he crossed home plate.
"The umpire called me safe when I was out," he said, and still laughs at the memory. "I've lived here in Madison all my life and I have so many great memories of Little League."
Murphy said it was sponsors and volunteers like Lemley and many others who make all the difference for the kids who love to play ball.
"Thank you, thank you to all of the volunteers and others who have helped," Murphy said. "We cannot do this without you."
Murphy estimated that around 800 children participated in the parade and that, with parents and other supporters, the crowd at the parade and ceremony was around 2,000.
To find out more about Madison Little League, please see their website.