Montoya credits the growth to the attitude of the leagues players. Ask them how theyre doing, take a little interest in them. Thats good enough for me and it was definitely good enough for them.
He says the reasons for volunteering are simple: Im a full grown kid myself.
Four years ago, this scene would not have been possible. “They played, they competed, and they came back and tied it. For each sport, there is an 8-10-year old Minor League,” an 11-12 year old Major League,” and a 13-14 year old Junior League.”With the exception of one, each league consists of four teams each. He says the excitement of the league is contagious.
A chopper up the middle is backhanded by the pitcher as the runner takes off from third.
Like Montoya, Hunt said the driving force behind the league boils down to the people who actually play the game.
At the rate of growth, the league has experienced over the past three seasons, the number of teams and players is only expected to rise.
At one of them, the infielders relaythe message to one another: “Look four, go one.” If possible, the goal is to prevent a run from scoring.
Its all about the kids, but weve got to have parent support, because this is a volunteer league and to keep the league running and successful we need all the volunteers we can get, Montoya says.
The opposing dugout shouts”GET DOWN!” as an play-at-the-plate develops.
A runner on third base eyes home plate on Wednesday night in Mesquite.(Photo: Lucas Thomas/Desert Valley Times)Buy Photo
In the beginning, it was hard getting it off the ground, trying to find enough people to volunteer. Everyone is having a great time.
In this town with the gambling and everything else, the youth kind of takes a little bit of a backseat, Hunt says.. In Minor League Baseball, there are enough participants for an eight-team division.
Its growing and the teams are getting better every week, says VVLL Vice President Nick Montoya. I have fun with the kids. That includes a Virgin Valley Little League board made up entirely of volunteers.
A good jump from third base forces a rushed, errant throw home and the runner is safe.
One of those is Al Sarge Hunt, who has been a volunteer umpire since the league began three years ago.
The growth of the league, he said, is something that is necessary for the community.
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Montoya tells a story of the team he currently coaches.
Mid-inning snacks can be had nearby at the concession stand.(Photo: Lucas Thomas/Desert Valley Times)
I can come down to their level, Im at kid at heart, he says. Since its inception in 2013 as an official affiliate of Little League International, Virgin Valley Little League has nearly tripled in size, providing nearly 300 boys and girls from Mesquite, Bunkerville, Littlefieldand Beaver Dam a diamond on which to play Americas pastime.
The Virgin Valley Little League has grown considerably since its founding in 2013.(Photo: File/Desert Valley Times)
While they may be the driving force, the players arent the only thing contributing to the leagues budding popularity. They feel like they can share some of that stuff with me.
Some of these parents would be shocked if they knew what some of the kids are telling Sarge here, Hunt says.
Kids want to be competitive and this gives them that platform,” he says.
Thekids,” he says, “love the program.”
On this particular Wednesday night in Mesquite, twosoftball games are in full swing, the concession stand is churning out all the staples hot dogs, snow cones, sodasand candy and people have gathered with family members and friends to relax and catch a ballgame.
Virgin Valley Little League is made up of six divisions three for baseball and three for softball. An outpouring of support from the community has been a catalyst for growth as well. Now weve expanded into both softball and baseball, he says.
The league even plays interleague games with Moapa Valley Little League.
Hunt, who also volunteers his time as a crossing guard for the after-school hours, said hes built a relationship with the youth in Mesquite.
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The excitement, the fun, the competitiveness, is what Montoya says drives the league.
We were losing 4-2 in the last inning, we came back and we tied it.I would have loved to see the win, but the kids were just as happy as pigs in mud, so thats a win,” he says
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