Chesterton Tribune

 

 

State Park Little League raising funds for new building

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By SCOTT MINOR

For over half a century State Park Little League has offered youth baseball programs to the kids of Duneland.

Established in 1953, SPLL was created with the goal in mind of guiding the boys of Westchester Township into good citizens with the help of baseball.

Since 1953, SPLL has adapted to the needs of the community and has added programs. In the early 1980s, softball was added to give girls the opportunity to play. Chesterton High School also started softball programs in the early 1980s, so SPLL gave young girls a chance to prepare for the future.

In 1994, the league added a Challenger Division to their program. This division is comprised of mentally and physically challenged children who play a modified form of baseball. Kids can join the Challenger Division at 5 years old and can play until they are 21 years old.

Over the years, SPLL has offered various levels of baseball based on the age of the players. Kids can start playing for SPLL beginning at age five and can play all the way until they are 18 years old.

In 1953, SPLL consisted of only four Little League teams. Today, SPLL has over 30 teams and six divisions. According to SPLL President Duane Dibble, there were about 375 Little League players for the spring season.

The highest number of players SPLL has had for a single season was 450 players about six years ago. That number declined to 330 players last year. The number of players is beginning to grow again and Dibble expects 400 players to sign on in 2016.

In 2009, the league decided expansion was needed at the League Lane site in Porter. A committee of SPLL supporters began a project called the “Field of Dreams.” This project would include the creation of a new field, restroom facilities, a new storage/concessions building, batting cages, and general facility improvements.

In 2013, a new field was built on land donated by Ron McColly along Woodlawn Ave. and plans for construction of the new building are in progress. The new field’s primary use is for the Challengers players, but it can also be used by other baseball divisions.

According to Dibble, the new building will cost more than $100,000. The league has about a fourth of the money on hand, but plans to do fundraisers in the future to raise the rest of the funds needed to complete the plan.

There are two seasons each year for SPLL. The spring season runs from early April through mid-June, with teams playing 14-18 games. Tournament play typically runs through mid-July culminating in a trip to Williamsport, PA, for a select few.

In the Fall, SPLL offers a lighter version of spring season play. There is only one game a week and it runs for seven weeks. This season typically runs from September to October.

SPLL is non-profit and completely run by volunteers. The league is always looking for parents to volunteer and help SPLL run smoothly. “Running a Little League is no easy task, it takes a lot of committed people,” said Dibble.

For information about registration for SPLL or to volunteer, go to www.stateparklittleleague.com

 

Posted 7/1/2015

 
 
 
 

 

 

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