Mon, March 30

Verde Valley Little League season almost here

VVN/Derek Evans

VVN/Derek Evans

It's almost here. On Saturday, March.28, 2015 Verde Valley Little League season will start. Children in many different age groups will get to play the sport they love.

The games will be held at Riverfront Park. Jeff Lynch, is coach of the major league Giants, ages 9-12. He is also vice president of Verde Valley little league. Lynch said he is excited about the upcoming season.

"Looking forward to having fun with the kids," he said. "Seeing them improving, giving them something to do. Keeping them off the street and doing positive things."

Lynch said that Verde Valley Little League is for players ages 4-12.

"We have Tee-Ball, we have coach pitch," he said. "We have a minor division and majors."

Lynch has been a coach in the league for eight years.

In little league, there are many different age groups with many different skill set. But, Lynch said the main goal is the same for everybody.

"The overall goal is to teach good sportsman ship," he said. "Try to raise the kids and teach them how to be positive role models and to give the kids an outlet to have fun."

Baseball seems to be a very popular sport in the Verde Valley. Mingus Union High School and Camp Verde High School baseball teams have enjoyed many seasons of success over the years. Lynch said he thinks that starts in little league.

"Most definitely," he said. "That's what we coach our kids to. My goal every year is to coach the kids up to the next level. Here we're feeding that program for the Mingus Union High School. They hit middle school next from here. Then, they're in high school. There are kids now in high school that we coached. It's great to see the progression. It's great to see those guys get up to the high school level and succeed."

In all levels combined, there are 38 teams in Verde Valley Little League. Lynch said there are 460 kids singed up to play. But, he said the league hopes to add to more teams that would push the total close to 500.

Lynch said coaches at different age groups are given instructions.

"They start at Tee ball," he said. "From four to six years old, that coach at the level is given a handbook. The handbook tells the skills to be taught at that level. The next level up is coach pitch. That's 6-8 year-old kids. The coaches are given a handbook just to teach that age group."

As a majors coach, Lynch is teaching high level skills of little league.

His son Tanner is on the team. Lynch started coaching when his son was at the coach pitch level.

Tanner starts this season as a 12-year-old. He has been playing baseball since he was 5-years-old.

Tanner described the upcoming season this way.

"I'm really excited," he said.

He said he will play shortstop and also pitch. Tanner said he plays baseball because he finds the sport enjoyable.

Another player on the major league Giants is Josh Schleger. Josh is a 10-year-old and has been playing baseball for seven years.

Like Tanner, Josh said he is excited for the season to start. He said it's simple for his team to do well this year.

"Keep practicing and do the best we can."

An important player for the Giants is Elian Martinez. Elian is a 12-year-old and is entering his sixth year playing baseball. He said he has been working hard to prepare for the season.

"Just practice and practice," he said.

Elian said there are a few reasons why he enjoys baseball.

"I like it because it's an active sport," he said. "And I'm good at it."

Like Tanner, Elian is a pitcher and shortstop.

There is one girl who plays in Verde Valley Little League. Her name is Kaitlyn Jones-Perry. Kaitlyn is 11-years old and has been playing baseball for seven years. She said she likes being the only girl in the league.

"I'm happy because that means I'm leaving a mark," Kaitlyn said. "I'm telling my story my own way."

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