Play ball! Forestville Little League holds its opening ceremony

Published on Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:51
Written by BOB MONTGOMERY

Correspondent

The Forestville Little League held its season-opening ceremony on Saturday morning, celebrating its players, family members, volunteers and benefactors. David Fisch, the morning host of The River 105.9, a manager of two teams in the circuit, was the emcee for the festivities.

“The field is in the best shape it’s ever been in and the field house has been renovated,” Fisch said.

And that was due, in part, to donations from a number of individuals, businesses and companies.

Two plaques on the revamped fieldhouse pretty-much said it all. One is a picture of the late Christopher Calnan when he played in the league and it was placed there by league officials on behalf of his brother, Michael, who gave a large donation to the league. The other plaque includes the names of those whose significant contributions of money or fundraising efforts helped make it all possible: Jay Calnan, Bruce and Debbie Yarde, Dave Greenleaf, David and Paula Cichon, Bob Montgomery and Hank Lodge.

Another individual who played a key role this year has been Steve Joslyn, project director of the rehabbing.

“After receiving nearly $40,000 from in-kind donations, the board of directors approved a multi-part project to update the building,” Joslyn said. “Work began in February when a new roof and siding were installed. New windows were installed in the board/meeting room as well as a security system and perimetered LED lighting replaced existing units.”

In addition, the kitchen was fixed up, painted and updated with new appliances being added while a new roof was built to extend over the kitchen’s order receiving and serving window.

There were also many improvements in and around the field area. One was done by Jacob Chamberland, an Eagle Scout from Troop 17 out of neighboring Greene-Hills School. He rehabbed a set of bleachers.

“I went up to (field manager) Ryan Martin to see what needed to be done,” Chamberland said. “We made a few changes to it, made it better.”

Speakers included Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, whose children had played at McCabe-Waters Little League. Not only did she go to their games, but she was one of the league’s busiest volunteers. She was accompanied by two members of the Bristol City Council, Mary Fortier and Dave Mills. Fortier had six children who played Little League and Mills was among the first to play when Forestville started its program in 1954.

The mayor advised the parents to enjoy watching their kids, because they grow up so quickly.

“The days are long and years are short,” Zoppo said.

Former District 5 administrator Maryellen Holden, who was recently honored by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance for her volunteerism in sports, especially Little League, also took to the microphone.

“Thank you to everyone who ever volunteered for Forestville Little League,” Holden said. “It feels good to be home.”

Fisch added that the league would do something for the first time and that was to introduce the 12-year-old players by name, those whose Little League careers would close at the end of the season.

An appreciative Scott Lodge, the league president, wrapped things up.

“It takes a lot of people to make this league run,” Lodge said. “It takes a whole village to make it happen.”

He then read a quote by the late Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on others.”

Julia Bruni of the Class A Mets and Kinley Joslyn of the T-Ball Orioles then combined to yell out, “Pay ball” and with this Steve Joslyn went to the mound to throw the celebrated first pitch and that was to his son, Grady, a perfect strike down the middle on a weather-wise perfect morning of baseball.

Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-973-1808.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Forestville on Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:51. Updated: Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:54.