Two pitches were thrown to open the 2018 South Siskiyou Little League season Saturday morning. New scoreboard donor Brian Johnson and Ray Kellar, father of the late SSLL coach Chris Kellar, threw their opening pitches at the same time.
The weather was warm and sunny as more than 350 players from 29 teams paraded around the Mount Shasta Youth Sports Park along with dozens of volunteer coaches.
Abby Budesa sang the National Anthem, and the Little League Pledge was led by the Cubs Major Girls team. Parents repeated the parent pledge after SSLL Coaching Coordinator and Opening Day emcee Kale Riccomini.
Riccomini encouraged the players by noting local athletes who are now playing baseball and softball in junior college and beyond. Sydney Cross is playing softball at Lewis & Clark College. Mason Brooks and Miranda Zanni are playing for College of the Siskiyous. Alex Peruzzi and Ashley Cain just finished two years playing at COS.
Johnson, who owns Rich Toreson Insurance, funded a new scoreboard last year after the old one was damaged by a summer thunderstorm. He served on the SSLL Board for eight years: four as president and four as vice president. Johnson was also a manager or coach for 10 years as his son, Nolan, moved through the program. As a youngster, Johnson played Little League in Yreka.
Kellar is the superintendent/principal at Dunsmuir High School. His wife, Linda, works for Local Transportation Commission of Siskiyou County. Their son, Chris, was an avid baseball fan and dedicated SSLL coach who passed away in a traffic accident last September. In 1998, Chris received his Eagle Scout badge for remodeling the dugouts and concession stand.
Johnson and Kellar threw out simultaneous pitches to open the season amid plenty of applause from the large crowd.
Riccomini called attention to a few changes this year. Girls softball is now being governed by Little League International rather than Pony Tail Softball, meaning they will play half their games in the Redding area. T-ball games will now be played at Weed Elementary School, and the grass has been temporarily removed from the infield at the Mount Shasta Youth Sports Park.
Riccomini also gave an update about the softball scoreboard, which will hopefully be installed before next season.
The ceremony was followed by a full slate of games at every level, as well as hit-a-thons, concession stand food, and plenty of baseball fun.
The following are the 2018 teams, coaches, and their sponsors:
A’s – manager Bret Ritter, sponsored by J. Harris and Associates Real Estate
Angels – manager Chris Galarsa, sponsored by Wonderland Distributing
Brewers – manager Lindsay Miller, sponsored by Tim’s Transmission and Repair
Cubs – manager Chelsey Meadows, sponsored by Siskiyou County Disposal
Iron Pigs – manager Alli Blankenship, sponsored by Benson & Sons Roofing
Giants – manager Josh Rice, sponsored by Weed Grocery Outlet
Mariners – manager John Sievers, sponsored by Basic Fencing
Orioles – manager Sten Strandberg, sponsored by Blue Star Gas
A’s – manager Bret Ritter, sponsored by Timber Gulch construction
Angels – manager Kelsey Larson, sponsored by Shasta Brown Inc.
Cubs – manager Chad Massey, sponsored by Jeffrey S. Morley, DDS
Giants – manager Jered Blankenship, sponsored by Erickson Construction
Indians – manager Chuck Mahan, sponsored by Berryvale Grocery
Orioles – sponsored by Montgomery’s Meats
Emeralds – manager Gerad Brasch, sponsored by Longhair Collision Works
Fireflies – manager John Kennedy, sponsored by Land Home Financial Services
Hooks – manager Chuck Mahan, sponsored by Swenson Excavation
Knights – manager Jeremy Keen, sponsored by Black Fox Timber Management
Giants – manager Michael Kobseff, sponsored by Say Cheese
Yankees – manager Mark Pigoni, sponsored by Ray-Mac Mechanical
Cubs – manager Jacob Barr, sponsored by Ramshaw’s Ace Hardware
Indians – manager Jeremy Porteous, sponsored by Roll’N Rock Construction
White Sox – manager Dolf Marshall, sponsored by Weed Golf Club
Cubs – manager Shane Klebig, sponsored by McLane Maintenance
Rays – manager Ryan Vanni, sponsored by Black Fox Timber Management
Siskiyou Red – manager Dave Kindley
Siskiyou Blue – manager Julio Lopez