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Mendon Opening Day is a Home Run with Players

Tony Sauter (center) accepts a plaque from Mendon Jr. Baseball Vice President Tom Belland (left) and President Dave Verrone.

On the morning of April 30, members of the Astros, Mariners, Cardinals, and Phillies were seen walking around Mendon's Memorial Field in full uniform anxiously waiting to play their first game of the year. However, they too were joined by the likes of the Tulips, Snowdrops, and Grasshoppers as participants of Mendon Jr. Baseball and Mendon/Upton Softball's Opening Day. In all, more than 450 kids between the ages of five and 16 are taking part in either baseball or softball this season.

Just like in previous years, Opening Day began with a police escort and all the teams and their coaches taking part in the traditional parade beginning from Kelley Road and eventually making their way down the street to Memorial Field. From there, each team was introduced to the crowd of family and friends.

President of Mendon Jr. Baseball Dave Verrone welcomed everyone in attendance and remarked that in these uncertain times, "One thing you can always count on is Opening Day."

Verrone also thanked the 25 parents who came out to the playing fields the previous week in the freezing rain to help prepare for Opening Day and readied batting cages and shoveled loads of mud among other tasks. "We'd do anything for our kids and I'm proud to be part of an organization that hasn't forgotten our kids," said Verrone.

Softball player Meghan Altavilla, a 4th grader at Clough Elementary School, then sang the National Anthem before the crowd.

Mendon/Upton Softball President Tony Sauter also thanked a number of people who have assisted with the softball program. After eight years serving as President, this will be Sauter's last year. "It's been a privilege and an honor to serve these kids," he said. Sauter was then given a plaque of appreciation by Verrone and Mendon Jr. Baseball Vice President Tom Belland, and also threw out the honorary first ball of the day.

Verrone then instructed hundreds of young players to shout the two words they had waited to say all day—"Play Ball!" And with that, hundreds of young players scattered across the fields to play their first game of the year.

Meghan Altavilla sings the National Anthem.


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