By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — It’s almost time to play ball in Derry and Londonderry
Opening day for Derry Little League and Londonderry’s Athletic Field Association teams is April 20.
In Derry, the day begins with a parade of all teams and their colorful uniforms stepping off at 9 a.m. from MacGregor Park and heading through town to O’Hara Field off South Avenue for opening day ceremonies and games.
This year, Derry has 32 teams, with approximately 430 players involved.
League officials said they are happy to start the season and fields seem to be in good shape.
League president Ray Feoli has four children playing in various age groups this year. He said the town officially opened the fields to the public last week.
“We’re happy to get everything squared away,” Feoli said. “I don’t see any issue (with the fields) that I’ve heard of.”
This year, the league also includes an expanded girls softball group with teams aimed at older players, ages 13 to 16, and also a younger, slow pitch group for ages 7 and 8.
Feoli said players also enjoyed a Winter Workout at the Sportszone in Derry. Players could come and take part in practice drills and plays to prepare for the spring season.
The program was very successful.
“It was a good program,” Feoli said. “We’ll run it again next year.”
During opening ceremonies this year, Feoli said, longtime volunteers and other integral members of the Derry Little League organization in town will be recognized.
Londonderry’s spring ball season also begins April 20 with baseball and softball players lining up early to march to the field complex off Sargent Road.
Crews were out earlier this week, prepping all the fields for play, including Hale, Founders, Farm, Perkins and Abbot.
Londonderry’s league includes baseball divisions Babe Ruth and Cal Ripkin and various softball teams for different age categories.
On opening day, players are asked to arrive at the Londonderry High School parking lot in uniform prior to 7:30 a.m. to march o the fields complex. The parade includes captains of the high school varsity baseball and softball teams, who will throw out the first pitches of the season. Play day runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To learn more about Derry Little League, its teams and for field upgrade information, visit derryll.org. For information on the Londonderry Athletic Field Association, visit lafa.info.