Nearly 300 boy and girl youth athletes signed up for the 2008 Bridge City Little League season, Saturday. “We’ll double that next weekend,” said BCLL Advisor Jerry McInnis.
Opening day is March 29.  By then McInnis expects almost a thousand youth to be in uniform ready to “play ball.”

Parents and youngsters filed along a maze of tables at the Bridge City-Orangefield Community Center during the first round of sign ups Saturday. Janie Forces signed up her son Logan to the seven year old boys baseball division. Across the room Monica Sprague signed up her daughter, Madison, to the six year old girls softball division. Youth softball and baseball players from all age groups filled the registration area.
The next round of sign ups is this Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Community Center from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Parents are urged to get their youngsters signed in then. A late sign up date is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 24, but only to fill team rosters. The first day of practice is Feb. 29.

The former Pony League is now part of the BCLL program in the league’s new expansions. A Junior League for 13-14 year old boys replaces the Pony League. A Senior League was formed for 15 and 16 year old boys. One of the fields was enlarged to accommodate the older boys.

The league, however, encompasses boys and girls from all age groups beginning with a new 4 year old T-Ballers bracket through teenage softball and baseball divisions. A new field is being constructed where the new younger T-ballers will play.
Last season the BCLL 9-10 year old softball team won the Texas Little League State Championship under coach Julia Kahla. Several BCLL boys and girls divisions won district championships.

McInnis says the field work for the expansions is coming together just in time. BCLL volunteers expanded a field to the Little League Association sanctioned 300-feet, it had been 270-feet. The field expansion makes it eligible to host regional All-Star games. Volunteers also spread 50 loads of dirt, planted Bermuda sod and winter rye and built new fences.  The lighting for the new field was just re-installed Friday. The field will have a new scoreboard.

For players wanting to get a jump on the upcoming season, a new business, Hitter’s Inc., will open Feb. 2, directly behind the BCLL complex. It is an indoor baseball and softball hitting and pitching facility offering a professional coaching staff that includes Joshua Gray, formerly with the Minnesota Twins. Also, Jessie Floyd who played for the San Francisco Giants and San Jacinto College softball standout Crystal Lundy will be instructors.

According to Ronnie Shuggart, one of the owners, the facility will provide four baseball and softball coin operated cages, four large instructional cages and includes a party room for various events. Brigg Patterson, president of the BCLL, is also an owner of the venture. with Michael Price and Mark Leblanc.

Registration fees to join the BCLL is $65.00 for one player and $20.00 for each additional participant up to three. There is no additional charge after the third child. More information may be found at WWW.BCLL.ORG or by calling Brigg Patterson at 697-1440 or Jerry McInnis at 882-2237.