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Dr. A.L. Lott Youth Baseball off to encouraging beginning

While the Dr. A.L. Lott Youth Baseball Program has been fieldingthe bench the last few seasons, public officials and programadministrators are hopeful that the program will not strike outanother year.

Community members, public officials, parents, coaches and eagerbaseball players were on hand for the program’s opening dayceremony at the Dr. A.L. Lott Sportsplex Saturday.

“The program is real super, real nice. The turnout is great,”said program commissioner John Sanders. “I’m looking forward to agood year.”

Program Director Roy Smith said the baseball program “all butdisappeared” for about four or five years. He said he was uncertainas to why.

“We have been in dire need for something for our kids to do inthe summer,” said Smith.

While the program may have been absent for several years, theimpressive turnout showed that area community members were willingto step up to the plate and public officials said they want theprogram to succeed.

“We support them and we’ll do anything we can to help them besuccessful,” said Mayor Les Bumgarner.

As of right now, Smith said there are about 400 children signedup to play in the program’s T-ball, Coach Pitch, Little League andPony leagues, with a total of 27 teams.

“I think the ones we got now, they’re the committed ones,” saidSmith.

Those in attendance were in agreement that it will take activeinvolvement from children, parents and the support of the communityto make the program successful.

“We all have a civic and moral obligation to ourselves andfamilies, but we also have a civic and moral obligation to eachother,” said Smith. “I hope that’s what I can get the community tounderstand.”

Charlotte Daniels, Chic’s Salon sponsor and coach, was gratefulto program organizers, but said it will also take the work ofparents to put forth the same effort to ensure the program’ssuccess.

“Don’t let out children down,” she said. “This is thebeginning.”

Smith said the program will provide an avenue to help educatethe community’s youth and teach the young athletes work ethic,leadership skills and teamwork.

“Learning good sportsmanship translates into learning goodcitizenship,” said Smith.

Some parents mentioned that the program will give kids somethingconstructive to do during their summer vacation.

“This sport or any other sport you can get involved in is thebest way to keep me from coming to see you,” said Sheriff SteveRushing.