We have a PONY League and fields we can be proud of because there are people who care. The following are stories about the volunteers who make it possible for the youths in our community to play ball.
When the current season started, there were two teams without managers. Stephanie and Scott Bailey quickly volunteered to take a team, even though their sons play at a higher level. The other team was taken over by Greg Carrasco, who played in the professional Philadelphia Phillies organization, and Kevin Keil, a tremendous college player. Neither man has kids in the league. In fact, they don’t have kids at all. They just wanted to pass on what they learned from their playing days.
As a child growing up in Pacific Beach in the 1970s, head groundskeeper George Boilard played on the ballfields he now meticulously maintains. Today, the kids are able to pitch off mounds and play on infields that are the envy of other leagues. Much of the credit goes to Tim Kasper, who worked so hard to get everything ready for the start of the season that he developed pneumonia. But he didn’t let that stop him.
It seems whenever something needs to get done, Mike or Lani Ryan step in to do it. They never complain and never seek recognition for their efforts. The same holds true for Mary Melton, the league president. Hers is a thankless job, but she deserves — and gets — the thanks from the parents and players.
If you love baseball, come by and take in a game at McEvoy Fields, located at 2639 Grand Ave., next to the golf course. Grab a hotdog at the snack shop run by the Ham family. If you’re not sure which team is which, talk to Troy Horton, a special kid who knows everything about each team and the players.
If you would like to support local youth baseball, contact Melton at (858) 354-3906. There are a number of ways you can contribute, and you would be making a difference like all those featured in this piece.
— Lee Silber is a Pacific Beach resident, a best-selling author and the manager of his two young sons’ team, The Exterminators.