Parades, first pitches launch new youth ball season

  Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx of Flossmoor
  is greeted by softball players as she takes the mound
  to toss a ceremonial first pitch to mark the return of
  youth softball in Flossmoor. The program was put
  on hiatus last year because of low registration
  numbers.
(Photos by Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

Youth baseball programs in Homewood and Flossmoor held opening day festivities on Saturday, April 21, with parades and ceremonial first pitches prior to the first games of the season.

  Bill Deady throws a
  ceremonial first pitch
  to mark the beginning
  of the youth baseball season 
  in Homewood. Deady and
  his late wife, Trucy, were
  long-time volunteers for
  the program. 

 

In Flossmoor, sportscaster Chuck Garfien served as grand marshal of the parade and threw the first pitch to launch the baseball season, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx threw out the first pitch to mark the beginning of a rejuvenated girls softball program.

Girls softball is back at Flossmoor Baseball and Softball (FBBSB) after taking a hiatus last year due to low registration numbers. 

Foxx, a Flossmoor resident, said she was delighted to see the program return. Her daughters played softball in the Homewood youth program last year.

FBBSB President Mike Matthys invited softball players to join Foxx on the mound and help her with the pitch.

"I didn't expect that. That was amazing," Foxx said. "The energy! I was very worried I wouldn't get it over the plate. Those girls pushed me over the plate."
 

  In a sort of reverse Baby
  Ruth moment, NBC Sports
  Chicago anchor and
  H-F High School graduate
  Garfien points to the left
  field fence he didn't hit 
  a home run over while
  making remarks during
  opening day festivities
  in Flossmoor. Garfien
  served as grand marshal
  of the Flossmoor parade. 

 

Garfien, a graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High School and an award-winning anchor for NBC Sports Chicago, reflected on his time playing baseball in Flossmoor when he was a kid.

"I was on the Spartans my first year. We won the championship. I thought we were going to win the championship every year," he said. That level of success proved to be elusive thereafter.

"I loved playing in this league. I wasn't always on a winning team, but I always had a great time playing with my teammates," he said. "I brought 100 percent of myself to every single game."

Matthys, also a former FBBSB baseball player, said the program has 350 players on 36 teams this year. He said the rejuvenated girls softball league has 70 players on nine teams. 

"We're really excited and we want to build that," he said.  

Matthys announced the recipients of two sportsmanship awards given to players each year in the memory of former players. The Jarrett Rowe Award was given to Luke Klupchak, who also served as catcher for the ceremonial pitches. The Kendall Tapley Award was given to Tommy Goff. 
 

  Tabitha Stine, president
  of Homewood Baseball
  and Softball, serves as
  for the opening day
  ceremonies at Ormsby
  Field

 

Among the many volunteers and sponsors Matthys thanked, he offered special recognition of scoreboard sponsor Gift of Hope, an organization that coordinates organ and tissue donations. CEO Kevin Cmunt said the organization was glad to have the opportunity to contribute to the program, and he encouraged everyone 16 and older to register as organ donors. 

Following the Flossmoor ceremony, Homewood Baseball and Softball (HBBSB) held its parade along Ridge Road and opening-day ceremonies at Ormsby Field in the Izaak Walton Nature Preserve.

Tabitha Stine, in her first year as president of the organization, offered thanks to the volunteers and sponsors who help HBBSB keep the organization running. She noted volunteers' dedication to the task of preparing the fields for the new season, with some still working on finishing touches at 1 a.m. Saturday.

"None of this is possible without our parent volunteers," she said. 

To exemplify that gratitude, Stine announced that a new HBBSB sign at the entrance to the ballfield complex was built with donated money to honor the memory of long-time volunteer Trucy Deady, who died last year.

"Trucy Deady was one of the shepherds of this league," Stine said. "She was a softball league commissioner, tournament organizer, concession stand manager, team mom and regular volunteer for Sunday morning ballfield cleanup.

"Mrs. Deady knew what a special place this was. She did her part and more."

To mark the occasion, Deady's husband, Bill Deady, also a long-time HBBSB volunteer, threw out the first ceremonial pitch of the day. Along the first base line, the couple's children and grandchildren gathered to provide support.

HBBSB also honored the beneficiaries of the parent volunteers' work, the kids who play ball in the program. Stine said names were drawn from a hat of players who are beginning their last year of HBBSB play. Four players were selected to throw ceremonial pitches and four were chosen to catch those pitches.

Representing the softball side were Violet Quirke, Addison Collins, Emma Steiner and Abby Irvin. 

Representing the baseball side were Tim Van Etten, Kaden Stine, Frank Walker and Alex Fox.

More information:
Homewood Baseball and Softball
Flossmoor Baseball and Softball

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