Opening day ceremonies launch the 2021 Zephyrhills Little League season
Baseball and softball players of Zephyrhills Little League were introduced, first pitches were thrown and great volunteer was recognized during the 2021 Opening Ceremonies at Sam Pasco Park.
ZLL President Adam Wilkes hosted a pair of ceremonies where he introduced the 14 teams in the league. This is a return for Little League Baseball in Zephyrhills after COVID-19 shut down the 2020 season.
Throwing out the first pitch at the 9 a.m. ceremony was Zephyrhills City Councilman Alan “Coach” Knight.
“It’s real good to be here,” Knight said. “This is really great. Zephyrhills Little League preserves that hometown atmosphere and I hope we never lose that. It means the world. You get to see your kids play and watch them make friends. These kids will be friends for the rest of their lives.”
The noon ceremony featured a special first pitch tossed out by Zephyrhills Police Officers and Zephyrhills Little League alumni Reggie Roberts, Billy Adams and Lorenzo Limoges.
“This is a great honor,” said Roberts, who, along with Adams, played Little League at Krusen Field. “It doesn’t matter where you play it. It is still Zephyrhills Little League. It is remarkable.”
Roberts, who went on to star on the football field at ZHS as well, looks at athletics as a critical element in the development of the youth of the community.
“You learn teamwork, camaraderie and respect,” Roberts said. “There are a lot of life lessons that came out of baseball.”
Adams played against Roberts during his Little League career and went on to be teammates at ZHS.
“This brings back a lot of memories,” said Adams. “It reminds you of all your coaches and the friends you played with. It is huge honor to be here and be around all this.”
Limoges, who along with his K9 partner Bolt, was a hit with the children prior to the ceremony. His opportunity to throw out the first pitch was just another way to give back to the community he grew up in.
“This is what it’s all about; the kids,” Limoges said. “Us being here, being born and raised here is great. We have a great agency with a lot of home-grown officers. We’re here to protect and serve and this is a part of serving. Our agency would do just about anything for kids in this town. Our main goal is grow kids who are going be good, productive citizens. If that isn’t a good job to have, I don’t know what is.”
An emotional rededication of signage honoring the late Kevin Hogsett, a beloved Zephyrhills Little League volunteer was held as well. The sign replaces the original sign that has weathered over the years.
“It’s great to have this done for Kevin,” Wilkes said. “He, his family and all the volunteers mean so much to this organization. Without the volunteers, there is no Zephyrhills Little League. All of us here, who put in the countless hours, do it all for the kids. That’s why we’re here. That is what today is all about.”