Closing out the youth Little League baseball/softball season, teams gathered at Hogan-Ennis Park in Saturday’s scorching heat to play their final games.
Most of the family and friends attending the contests on June 19 brought in pop ups or large beach umbrellas to provide some protection from the sun as they sat in camp chairs or settled in on blankets, as the weekend temperatures soared into the triple digits.
Escalon Recreation Services Coordinator Bridget Gaines said it was a very successful season, even with a little bit of a late start and no formal opening ceremonies due to the lingering effects of the pandemic.
Opening day was back on Saturday, May 1 so teams had eight full weeks of play, just a couple weeks short of a traditional season, Gaines said.
“We had 310 signed up for baseball,” she added, noting that fields at Hogan-Ennis Park were busy every weekend and a couple of days during the week in the evenings to get in the games.
“We were maybe a game or two short,” Gaines said of fitting in nearly the entire regular season.
Fans were cheering for their players and applauding good plays on both sides of the diamond during Saturday’s final contests, while some teams also used the adjacent covered pavilion area near the city’s Community Center to have their own season-ending recognition ceremonies.
Now, the Adult League will take over the fields, returning after a year’s absence in 2020 due to COVID-19.
“We have 12 teams and I think I could have had more,” Gaines said of the Thursday night adult league. “Twelve is the most we have had in a long time, it had been increasing the last few years but then we had to take a break last year.”
She said there is renewed interest this season, as people are eager to get back out and get active.
“They will play on both the A and B fields,” she added. “The first games will be at 6 p.m. and every team is playing every week.”
The Adult League starts on Thursday, June 24 and the regular season is scheduled to run through Aug. 26. Playoffs are scheduled to start on Sept. 2. All adult ages are involved, from late teens to about early 60s, Gaines said.
Youth soccer sign-ups are also complete, with 450 youngsters getting ready for that season.
This year, the city opted not to have teams for 3- and 4-year-olds, starting the youth soccer teams at ages 5 and up. The first soccer games at Hogan-Ennis Park are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 7.