Little League back in action

24 teams, 269 players will participate in youth league this season

Rudy Maestas throws out the ceremonial first pitch to kick off the Cortez Little League season for the 270 players starting from T-ball to 14-year-olds. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Rudy Maestas throws out the ceremonial first pitch to kick off the Cortez Little League season for the 270 players starting from T-ball to 14-year-olds.

Nothing announces spring’s arrival quite like Little League Baseball’s opening day.

Kicking off the season in style, more than 250 players and 25 coaches took the field at Parque de Vida on May 3 to take part in Cortez Little League’s opening ceremony.

Leading the festivities, league president Travis Greenlee thanked coaches and sponsors and volunteers before introducing the league’s 24 teams.

“It’s great to have this many kids interested,” said Greenlee. “I want baseball to be a really big thing in Cortez.”

This season, 269 total players between the ages of 4 and 14 are signed up for the Cortez Little League, making it one of the largest youth leagues in the local area.

In addition to hosting league games in Cortez this summer, the league will also send its upper-division teams to compete in Durango, Ignacio and Bayfield.

Also on tap for this season will be the State Juniors Tournament, which will take place in July and feature Colorado’s top teams in the 13-14 age division.

“We’ll have some of the best 13- and 14-year-olds in the state over here,” said media director Nicci Crowley.

Clearly excited to start the season, several young players tossed balls while a few young players paused for interviews.

Among those interviewed was 6-year-old Karston Cox, who, beginning his second season in the Cortez Little League, talked about his favorite parts of baseball.

“I enjoy running and hitting,” said a smiling Cox.

Also interviewed was 4-year-old Mateo Hernandez, who, displaying a large smile underneath his large ball cap, said that he is excited to play with his team.

Such teamsmanship, Greenlee said, is one aspect of baseball that creates a valuable experience.

“I think you learn more life lessons from baseball than any other sport,” said Greenlee. “It’s a sport that you’re going to fail at, so you learn how to deal with failure, and you learn perseverance.”

This year’s Cortez Little League season promises to be one of the finest to date.