Little League Opening Day hits it out of the park

Little Leaguers watch the opening ceremonies at Shelburne Town Field.Photo by Gina Douglas Normand
Little Leaguers watch the opening ceremonies at Shelburne Town Field.Photo by Gina Douglas Normand

The recent merger of the Charlotte, Hinesburg, and Shelburne Little Leagues led to a big, happy crowd and a lot of fun on Saturday, April 30 for the league’s opening day ceremonies. Ball players and their families, accompanied by a drum line, marched in a parade from the town green to the ball fields, where an awards ceremony, a home run derby, and plenty of hot dogs got the season off to an enthusiastic start.

Tim Pudvar, president of Shelburne Little League, said the merger of the three towns, who will all play under the Shelburne Little League charter, allows for an ease of management, scheduling, and All-Star team formation that will make it easier for families, ball players, and administrators. This year there are over 250 boys and girls in the league. “It’s working out great,” he said. “A lot of synergies have been accomplished.”

With spring temps climbing into the balmy 40s and 50s, the weather was perfect for the opening ceremonies which were an opportunity to recognize several important contributions to the league. Long-time snack bar operators Dick and Peg Meunier, of Shelburne, who have probably made more cheeseburgers and sold more gum than anyone else in the state of Vermont, threw the first pitch of the season.

Rob Achilles, who is on the Little League board, was the master of ceremonies. Charlotte resident Chris Boffa was presented with the Volunteer of the Year award. He was president of the Charlotte Little League for many years, and Pudvar said he was the “driving force behind the merger” of the towns’ baseball leagues.

Achilles and Pudvar presented the President’s Award to Rowan Williams, from Shelburne, who has aged out of the Little League program but leaves behind an important legacy of strength of character, determination and focus on the field, and being an all-around coachable and enthusiastic player. Pudvar said, “Think of it as the Great Kid Award.”

The Coach of the Year Award went to Kelli Magnier, a softball coach, who has been with the organization for many years, even coaching when she didn’t even have a player on the team. Recognition also went tout to 4-year baseball All Stars Aiden Achilles and Ethan Harvey and 5-year Softball All Star Gillian Magnier.

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