In a league of their own

JOHNSBURG - In a community the size of Johnsburg, its hard to imagine a bigger success story than youth baseball. With modest beginnings in the 1950s, today's league is exceptionally proud of their stature as the single largest recreational program in the town, with 110 kids enrolled for the 2008 season. The organization currently supports three coed divisions, including Majors (ages 9-12), Minors (ages 7-10), and Tee Ball (ages 5-7). In response to increasing concerns over the management of the Northern Adirondack Little League, Johnsburg coaches and parents recently decided to form an independent league with Warrensburg. Among the concerns were a lack of organization at the national league level, extensive travel requirements for games, and a limitation on team involvement with the town-owned baseball fields. "Although all of the details for the new league are yet to be settled or laid out, the recently formed Johnsburg Youth Baseball Committee is working hard to organize for the coming season," Peter Olesheski, Committee Chair, recently said. "Both towns will benefit and will be able to offer the children in their towns new opportunities." An immediate benefit to Johnsburg will be the league's ability to offer softball teams during the 2009 season, an expansion historically prohibited by the Adirondack Little League, and a program already running in Warrensburg. The Johnsburg league anticipates a dramatic response to this announcement, with the possibility of total program enrollment swelling to include 150 area children. Thankful for the town's support of the decision, the league further pledged its dedication to improving its baseball facilities, including upkeep and maintenance. "This [league change] will allow coaches, parents, and other members of the committee to take actual ownership of the fields that our teams play on, and with luck, needed improvements will be made and could someday lead to new fields being built to support a growing program within the town," Olesheski added. As the weather breaks, and thoughts turn to green grass and warm breezes, the Johnsburg Youth Baseball league has turned its attention to increasing community involvement. They also hope to distribute funds equally among the area teams, to provide a direct benefit that could not be realized previously. "One of the biggest hurdles left in preparing for the coming season is finding sponsors to support the program," Olesheski concluded. "In the past, individual donors (including local businesses and community groups), gave money to support one particular team or another. However, moving forward, the committee will be seeking support for Johnsburg Youth Baseball as a whole." For further information, including the current tryout/sign-up schedule, or to learn what you can do to support Johnsburg Youth Baseball, contact Peter Olesheski at (518) 251-3742.

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