DERRY — Hundreds of Derry Little Leaguers kicked off their spring season last weekend, and honored longtime volunteers and community supporters.
Hundreds of players lined up at MacGregor Park to begin the annual parade of team colors. They marched down to O'Hara Field for opening day ceremonies.
Joining the players were local veterans and members of the Red Star Twirlers.
About 400 players make up approximately 30 teams this season.
The ceremony began as teams lined the field and Little League officials paid respects in a moment of silence to David Fagone, a longtime league volunteer and coach. Fagone died in February.
Little League president Steve Tritto called Fagone someone who gave his all to support the community and youth.
He presented Fagone's family with a plaque to honor "Coach Dave and his many years of dedicated service to Derry Little League."
Tritto said this season would be a good one, thanks to the great weather and support from the town's Parks and Recreation team, which maintains the fields.
"They work tirelessly behind the scenes to get these fields in top shape," he said.
Tritto also honored longtime volunteer Steve Heffelfinger, presenting him with the Derry Little League Lifetime Achievement Award.
Heffelfinger has served the league as president, coach, safety officer and as an umpire.
"Good people are hard to find," Tritto told Heffelfinger. "Your hard work made you a member of great worth and usefulness to our community."
Heffelfinger did the honors of throwing the first pitch of the 2012 season.
"If anyone has any doubts about what volunteering is to Derry Little League, here it is," Tritto said. "This is what it's all about."
Little Leaguers also paid tribute to Derry auto dealership Betley Chevrolet, a longtime sponsor and supporter.
As part of an ongoing youth program through Chevrolet, Derry ball players received new bat racks and equipment bags.
"It's a good partnership," Tritto said.
For information about teams, schedules, and fields visit derryll.org.
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