After a two-week rain delay, Ladera Little League (LLL) kicked off it’s 2018 season, on Saturday, March 17, with a fun-filled day of activities, food, and baseball games.
The morning was picture perfect on the Christopher “Beebop” Robinson Major Field where Mix Master DJ Cash spun Hip Hop hits for the crowd. League President, Kim Hosea, welcomed players and families, followed by the Parade of Athletes. Twenty-two teams, led by their coaches, rounded the field and recited the National Anthem. Longtime Ladera Coach Greg Brookins led the Invocation. After the introduction of the Board of Directors, and the reciting of the Little League Pledge, players Gabriel Lemoire and Nathaniel Castro threw out the first pitch to officially start Ladera’s 60th season. Other activities included face painting, balloon machines, and a bounce house for smaller children.
This year, Ladera chose to pay homage to the legacy of the Negro Leagues by renaming one team in each of its four divisions – tee ball, rookies, minors, and majors – after the Negro league’s Kansas City Monarchs, Homestead Grays, and Pittsburgh Crawfords with unique uniforms meant to teach the players about the accomplishments of those who played the game before them. It also remains committed, for a second year, to girl’s softball with a minor and major team called, The Valkyries. “Our goal has always been to instill the qualities of respect, accountability, responsibility, and trust in the players we serve,” says Board Member, Tony Rice. “We believe these qualities will serve them in life for years to come.”
Since 1958, the Ladera Little League sports program has served the surrounding communities of Baldwin Hills, View Park, Windsor Hills, and Ladera Heights. It remains a pillar in the community providing high quality baseball instruction to boys and girls ages six to fourteen, from all economic and cultural backgrounds, and has sent several players to the Major Leagues including: Dominic Smith (NY Mets), Kenny Walls (St. Louis Cardinals), Tyler Mark (Arizona Diamondbacks), and former Los Angeles Dodger, Nick Aikens.
“There is no other Little League in Los Angeles quite like Ladera Little League,” believes President Hosea. “We have generations of former players whose children and grandchildren now play at Ladera and support our efforts as coaches, volunteers, and board members. It is this sense of familial camaraderie that has kept this organization running for six decades.”
Ladera Little League is located at 5401 South Fairfax Blvd. Los Angeles, 90056 www.laderalittleleague.org