Little League opening day just a month away

Knik president hoping to grow program


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Knik Little League’s opening day might be a month away, but many local youngsters have been enjoying America’s favorite pastime all winter.

Thanks to the new addition at the McDonald Center, little leaguers have been honing their skills at weekly clinics on the turf.

As winter sports wind down, Knik Little League president Dan Kendall has seen an increased interest in the winter clinics.

“Every week now we have more and more kids coming in,” he said.

That’s just what Kendall wants to see. Since becoming president in 2008, Kendall said the number of Knik ballplayers has stayed level.

“Our numbers have been right at 550 players for all of those years,” he said. “They haven’t grown, they haven’t shrunk.

“We’d like to see that increase,” Kendall said.

One age group that has seen recent growth is at the tee ball and coach pitch levels, Kendall said.

“That means our program should grow at the upper levels,” he said.

The influx of young players bodes well for the league, Kendall said. Kids who learn the fundamentals — throwing and catching — at a young age are more likely to continue to pursue the sport, he said.

“If they don’t learn that by 10 or 11, they’ll get frustrated and quit because they never mastered the basics,” Kendall said. “That’s really what we focus on at the younger ages.”

This year marks the Knik Little League’s 50th anniversary. Opening day ceremonies will be held April 27 at Lions Park in Eagle River. Kendall said he plans on holding a celebration barbeque later this summer.

For more information or to register, visit www.kniklittleleague.com. The registration fee includes entry to the clinics, which run until opening day.

“It’s all one package,” Kendall said.

The league also offers a scholarship program.

“No one is turned away from the little league programs,” Kendall said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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