Special closing day ceremonies held for the league’s 377 players
It was a day filled with smiles, surprises and friendships that will last a lifetime. It was the closing day of the 2022 Zephyrhills Little League season.
Every team made up from the 377 players who came out for Little League baseball and softball were recognized during a special ceremony at Sam Pasco Park Sunday. Personalized plaques were presented to each player and coach and the first place teams in each of the divisions received trophies honoring their achievement this season.
The ZLL All-Star Rosters were announced and special recognition was given to those players. Also, there was a dunk tank where coaches got a chance to see how accurate their players’ arms are. All the coaches who dared to enter the tank went for a dip. In addition, come coaches received a pie in the face from their players. It was a fun day to be a little leaguer.
The 2022 season was special. Little League made a resurgence after the 2020 season was cancelled after one week of games because of COVID 19. The virus had an impact on the 2021 season where there were substantially fewer players.
League finances suffered during those two seasons as well and something had to change.
In 2022, Jan Spivey came out of retirement and returned as president of the league. She and her board of directors generated enough sponsors to support all the teams. Partnerships in the community helped stock the concession stand to open the season assisting the league to continually raise money through concessions throughout the season.
It was an overwhelming success and proved that Little League is back and the future is bright in Zephyrhills.
“Little League is definitely back! We do what we do here because of the kids,” Spivey said following the ceremony, “We have to teach the children character, loyalty and courage. That is the meaning of Little League. That’s what we’re here for.
“The kids are awesome. Every single one of them out here is awesome. From the tiniest one to the oldest one, they are awesome.
Spivey will never take credit for the success of Zephyrhills Little League or the impact her leadership has on the children of the community. During the ceremony, she recognized adult volunteer Britney Dean and teenage volunteer Tatem Chase.
“It takes a village. We had a lot of great volunteers this year,” Spivey said. “Our board members were willing to help wherever they were needed to. We’ve had a lot of volunteers come into the concession stand to keep it going and that concession stand pays the bills.”
As the City of Zephyrhills continues to grow with housing developments dotting the once-vacant land, Spivey sees Little League ready to grow with it.
“It is just going to get larger and that is exciting,” Spivey said. “The county is going to have to build us more fields.”