MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - All the bases are loaded to get the season for the Cal Ripken baseball league in Moss Point going in full swing.
The fields are almost ready, the bleachers are in place, but one major issue needs to be solved for a successful season.
"The biggest obstacle so far is registration...getting the children to come out and play baseball again this year," said Chuck Redmond, vice president of the league.
Last year, Redmond and a team of volunteers worked hard to reintroduce baseball to the city.
The response was overwhelming. Redmond estimates around 350 children registered to participate.
This year, though, those numbers have barely reached double digits. "Last check, I checked, it's probably around 10," he said.
Registration closed on Saturday, but organizers will extend the deadline to March 3 with hopes that that number will grow.
"You can't have a league without children," Redmond said.
He says the league is a valuable resource in light of recent violence in the city.
"We have to give our children an alternative to the violence, to the gang activity, to the criminal activity. We have to give our children something to do," he said.
Redmond hopes the violence isn't the reason for less participation this year.
To him, safety is top priority and a reason why volunteers are also needed. "If we can have enough manpower out here, just presence alone, especially with the help of our police department, it'll speak volumes to any of the criminal activity that might want to go on out here," Redmond said.
It's a plea for players and volunteers to make this year's season a home run.
"We want this to be a community league. We want this to be a fun league. We want it to be an instructional league. And we just want this thing to be a positive for our community."
The league is open to children ages 4 to 16, of all skills and abilities. The registration fee is $55.
For more information on how to register, visit the Moss Point Cal Ripken league Facebook.