Deerfield Beach Little League celebrates opening day

Posted on 28 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The annual tradition of face painting, hot dogs and various contests, including a home run derby helped kickoff opening day for the Deerfield Beach Little League on Saturday. 

“We’ve been in this fine city for 62 years,” gushed Deerfield Beach Little League President Jason Siracusa. “This is our second season with a new board of directors and we are looking forward to an even better year this season.”

Siracusa said the difference between last year and this year is that they are coming off a championship season. He would know firsthand as last season, Siracusa coached the Junior Division team to the state finals where they finished runner-up.

“Our league has grown since last year and our registrations are up,” said Siracusa, who said there are now 20 teams in the program. “Our sponsorships are up and we have a lot of new families, especially in the younger divisions which is really the future of our league. 

There are approximately 250 players in the league, from ages 4 to 16, Siracusa said opening day was a success. There was a tug of war between coaches and players, a cornhole competition, home run derby, fast pitch and a “triathlon” which consisted of hitting, throwing and running for the younger age groups.

“It was a great day,” Siracusa said. “We had a couple of more events. “The mayor and a couple of city commissioners were here and this was really about bringing everybody together for one time without any baseball, without any games going on. It just gave everybody a chance to get to know each other.

“We had our competitions, a BBQ and then off we go, the season starts,” Siracusa added. “This year was a lot easier than last year. We’ve embraced technology. We built a good foundation last season and we are more streamlined this season, financially and structurally. Building on that, we did a lot of online registrations. We have apps for the managers to help keep track of their teams to communicate with their teams and it makes it a better experience for everybody.”

 Siracusa said the top goals for the program this season is more championships, competitive baseball through both the city’s games and interleague play with neighboring communities in both the junior and 50/70 divisions. The league will consist of T-Ball, Coach-Pitch, Majors, 50/70, Junior and the Seniors, which will begin play in May after the high school season. Siracusa said running the program takes a lot of work and he credited the effort of the volunteers for keeping them on track.

“We didn’t get in all of our uniforms until yesterday,” Siracusa said. “We changed our uniforms this year too. The uniforms are brighter and they seem to be a bit more fun. We have the kid’s names on the back and we have Deerfield Beach in large letters on the front so everywhere we go, we are representing our city. We wanted to make sure we put out a good vibe from our city. 

Angel Davober, 9, of Pompano Beach, a Cresthaven School third grader, said he has played the sport since he was 4.  

“It’s fun and cool because you get to play a lot of different positions,” said Davober, who plays third base, second base and outfield. “I like playing third base the most. Today was awesome because you got to do a lot of different things.”

Deerfield Beach’s Neile Thomas, 14, of Deerfield Beach, has played in the league since he was 6. 

“There is a lot of good stuff to like about the league,” said Thomas, a Pompano Beach High School freshman, “It is very family oriented. The coaches put their players’ safety before winning, but we win too.”

Thomas was a member of the state runner-up Junior Division team a season ago.

“It’s pretty cool to get your name on a banner because you can come back in a couple of years and people you know you can say, ‘I was on that team,’” Thomas said. “On a scale from 1 to 10, that was like an 11. Going to a state tournament was like one of the coolest things I have ever done. Hopefully, this year we will go to states again and win it this year.”

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