Gautier hopes to score home run with youth baseball league - - The News for South Mississippi

Gautier hopes to score home run with youth baseball league

Gautier city leaders say they are taking steps to expand recreation citywide. Their first stop is improving the baseball and softball league. City leaders hope to build a premier league for young people.

Aaron Franklin and his son Cameron both share a love for baseball. Soon Cameron will be the newest member of Gautier's league for kids.

"This is his first time, and I'm excited about it," said Franklin.

"He seems to be pretty excited about it. He has wanted to play baseball, and as long as he's getting into sports and he staying out of trouble and that goes as for all the kids."

The Gautier Recreation Advisory Committee recently voted to change leagues. The Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth League for baseball and softball has been selected to in hopes of getting young people more involved.

"Due to a lack of participation and losing kids to other cities in the surrounding areas, and a lack of leadership in it. So they developed this new board and brought in the Cal Ripken after all the interviews," league volunteer Jeremy Brown said.

Brown is optimistic the change will score a home run for the city.

"We will have better coaches, better organization, and the high schools talking about putting together some coaching clinics for coaches who don't have a lot of experience and for the experience coaches. What we're going to try to do is gear all the kids' training toward the high school league so they can learn the fundamentals at this age, so it will stick with them."

Several parents signed up their children this weekend.

"I'm so excited that we have a different league, and we are trying to get the kids involved in different activities to make sure Gautier has something to offer for the kids," parent Drew Pickens said.

"We are hoping this brings pride back to Gautier, and it brings tournaments to Gautier, which brings revenue to Gautier. It puts a positive light on Gautier for the kids and the community," said Brown.

As for the kids, they are just ready to play.

"I love baseball, and I'm excited for the new season," little leaguer DJ Pickens said.

Registration is now open for the 2014 season. Boys and girls ages 4-18 may register at Gautier City Hall at 3330 Highway 90 during normal business hours through February 28. Games will begin in March. Registration is $75 with a $10 discount for sibling in the same family.

For questions regarding the league, registration, or to volunteer, contact District commissioner Danny Buford at (228) 219-7386.

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