Opening day for Magnolia Little League set for Saturday

The familiar sounds of a parade once again will float down from the west hill of McGraw Street, and a crowd of spectators will gather Saturday, March 24, in the Magnolia Village.

It's time to celebrate the opening of Magnolia Little League's 2007 season with the annual Opening Day parade and ceremonies.

Rain or shine, starting at 10:30 a.m., more than 600 Little Leaguers from the ages of 5 all the way up to age 17 will march from the top of McGraw's west hill. The parade winds through the Magnolia Village, turns left on 32nd Street West and end on Field No. 2 by the Magnolia Community Center, 2550 34th Ave. W.

"The parade is the signal of the start of another great season," said MLL president Jim Bittner. "Everyone in the league focuses on the kids."

The theme of opening day this year is community, and the important partnership formed between Magnolia and Magnolia Little League.

"Little League is important to the community because it brings everyone together to work on a very worthwhile project," Bittner explained. "Neighbors meet and work together in a commitment to the community and each other."

This year the parade will be announced by KJR-AM sports personality Mike Gastineau, a.k.a. "the Gas Man."

The featured teams come next in the line-up. Two of the Majors baseball squads, Fisher Plumbing and Goodman Racing, will share the spotlight in the featured game to take place after the conclusion of opening ceremonies. Last year the two teams went head-to-head for the first- and second-place spots in Magnolia's Majors Baseball division.

Each T-ball, fastpitch and baseball team will directly follow to complete the parade, and will line up in the outfield of Field No. 2.

"Opening Day is one of the premier community events," Bittner said. "Thousands attend and all take pride in the children and the community."

KIRO TV anchor Penny LeGate, acting as opening day emcee, will kick off opening ceremonies, which will begin directly following the conclusion of the parade. Opening ceremonies will also include a speech by Bitter, as well as the introduction of the featured teams and the singing of the national anthem.

Some of MLL's outstanding achievements will be recognized on this day, including a 2006 All Stars recap and highlighting the 2006 10/11 All Stars Fastpitch team, which won the District 8 tournament and placed fifth in the state tournament in Poulsbo.

The first pitch will be thrown by Marah Williams. Williams has been involved in Magnolia Little League as a player for nine years, and is now participating as an assistant coach for the AAA fastpitch team the Magnolia Garden Center.

Catching the first pitch is Emma Whitacker, a catcher from the Majors Fastpitch team, Go Legs.

Magnolia Little League will also honor its volunteer and youth umpires. Youth umpires will be officiating the featured game.

"Little League is an all volunteer effort," said Bittner. "It takes hundreds of volunteers and man hours to sponsor and put on this league for the benefit of our kids."

Opening ceremonies will be concluded with the national anthem, performed by Linda Jackley, and the presentation of the colors. This year the colors will be a community effort teaming up the Magnolia Boy Scouts with SFC Wayne Baker and the 70th Regional Readiness Command from Fort Lawton in Discovery Park.

The official MLL organist, Jeannette MacDonald, will signal the end of ceremonies by treating us to a classic rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Shortly after the featured game begins, the afternoon events will move forward. This will include a home run derby on Field No. 1 as well as a speed pitching competition over by Field No. 2.

What's more, there will also be a special one-day sale of Magnolia Little League merchandise. The merchandise trailer will be positioned just south of Field No. 2.

For more information on Magnolia Little League and a schedule of events, visit the league's Web site at[[In-content Ad]]