TRC fields busy with nearly 40 youth teams
"Play ball" applies to Tonganoxie youth a great deal this summer on the baseball and softball diamonds.
Tonganoxie has 38 teams consisting of 450 players ages 5-14, according to Tonganoxie Recreation Commission director Mark Zerrer.
"It's a good number," Zerrer said. "It's up a little from last year."
Actually, when Zerrer first came to Tonganoxie in 1994, school classes were slightly bigger and the commission had about 500 participants. Zerrer, though, anticipates the numbers rising again in the next few years.
With four fields being utilized at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, there's usually someone playing throughout the week.
From T-ball to intermediate leagues, boys and girls teams are busy in Tonganoxie. Although not all age groups compete with many outside communities, some teams face Bonner Springs, Basehor, Lansing, De Soto, Linwood and Edwardsville.
In the past, local businesses have sponsored the various teams, but this year, TRC tried a new concept by issuing team shirts with all sponsoring business names on the back.
Coaches for this year's teams begin with the K-Ball leagues, which involve 7- and 8-year-olds. In the boys division, Dennis Hecht (Lime), Mark Elston (California Blue), Scott Dent (Gold), Chuck Duran (Orange) and Doug Tate (Red) are coaching in Tonganoxie.
Sarah Updike (Lime), Keri Nightingale (California Blue), Dallas Laffoon (Gold) and Bryan Kemp (Orange) are coaching the girls.
For the Midgets League (ages 9-10) Mark Williams (Lime), Scott Soetaert (California Blue), Gary Wagner (Gold), Richard Erickson (Orange) and Chris Campbell coach the boys' teams. Chuck Clark (Lime), Paul Gripka (California Blue) and Jerry Stockman (Gold) coach the girls' squads.
In the Juniors League (ages 11-12), Scott Gallagher (Lime), Helen Newton (California Blue), Troy Erwin (Gold) and Steve Woolf (Orange) coach the boys teams, while Brandon Kanan (Lime), Donna Clarkson (California Blue), Sue Hicks (Gold) and Doug Wheeler (Orange) are coaching.
In the Intermediate League (13-14), only three boys' teams are playing and only one girls' team has been formed. Mark Nowasell (Teal), Bill Shaw (California Blue) and Tom Gurss (Gold) are coaches for the boys teams and Kelly Gonser (Red) is the girls coach.
Teams already have played two weeks of baseball and softball. Results from games played in Tonganoxie are:
May 29 -- Orange 6, Lime Green 4; Red 10, California Blue 10 (tie); Gold 12, Linwood 10.
June 4 -- Red 5, Gold 1; California Blue 9, Orange 4.
June 5 -- Gold 12, Orange 3; California Blue 14, Lime 8.
May 29 -- Gold 3, Orange 1; Red 6, California Blue 3.
June 4 -- Red 3, Lime 2; Orange 3, California Blue 2.