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FR&A Photo Gallery: Franklin Township Baseball League Welcomes New Season With Annual Parade, New Scoreboard

FTBL Parade44

Marchers approach the baseball complex on Dekalb Street.

The Franklin Township Baseball League ushered in the 2014 season – its 62nd – April 5 with the annual parade from Pine Grove Manor School to the baseball complex on Dekalb Street.

Players and their parents marched along Highland Avenue and Franklin Boulevard behind the banners of their respective teams as onlookers cheered from the sidewalk.

This year, 521 boys and girls aged 4 to 18 years will play on the various baseball and softball teams, said Bill Milligan, the league’s president.

New this year is one baseball team comprised of boys aged 16 to 18 years, Milligan said. The age limit had previously been 16.

“We’re excited,” Milligan said. “Some guys didn’t make the high school team, so now they have a place to play. And that’s why we’re here.”

The regular season will run through June, after which playoffs and divisionals begin. The league also runs a fall season in September and October.

A special guest at the opening ceremony was former Pittsburgh Pirate Will Pennyfeather. Pennyfeather also played with the Somerset Patriots and Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League.

A Perth Amboy native, Pennyfeather said opening day of Little League always brings back good memories for him.

“It’s a special time,” he said. “Those memories never leave you.”

Pennyfeather’s message was not to the players, but to the coaches and parents. He said “Big League” mentality was creeping into Little League, and that was not a good thing.

Speaking to coaches, Pennyfeather asked them to not yell at their players when they make a mistake, but to help them learn, and make it so they’re not afraid to make another mistake.

“This is the level where you make mistakes and learn,” he said.

“My point is, let’s get Little League back to Little League, where the kids are having fun,” he said.

League officials also unveiled a new scoreboard for the minors division, which was donated by University Orthopaedic Associates of Somerset.

Heavy rains the few days before opening day forced the cancellation of games scheduled for prior to 11 a.m., but games scheduled after that time were expected to be played.

Franklin Township Baseball League Parade 4-5-14

 

 

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