Wrentham Youth Baseball and Softball Association will celebrate is 60th year and officially kicks off the season in style on Saturday at 10 a.m. As in past seasons, WYBSA will hold a parade with most of its 500 players marching from the center of town, down South St, over to Randall Rd, and ending at Sweatt Fields for a historic Opening Day ceremony.
The day won't just mark six decades of ball, but it will once again serve as an opportunity to gather as a community and raise money for the Gemelli Family Fundsetup to help Tim Gemelli, an active member of the WYBSA and resident diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
(Pictured: Tim Gemelli throws the first pitch of the 2014 WYBSA season.)
WYBSA president Gary Campbell says opening ceremonies will be the best yet, if the weather cooperates. There will be live music from a 50-piece orchestra which will perform the Star Spangle Banner and other musical numbers. Activities planned include a petting zoo, party train, obstacle course, baseball skills competitions, t-shirts and bracelet sales, and baseball gear sales with proceeds going to the Gemelli Family Fund.
As in the past, players are asked to fill recyclable grocery bags with food for donation to the the Wrentham Food Pantry. Players from King Philip High School baseball team will gather the bags onto a truck donated by Richie Anderson and Wrentham Co-Operative Bank will donate $5 to WYBSA for each bag collected. "Just another great example of how our community comes together to support each other," Campbell says. "Days like Opening Day and Wrentham Day make me proud to live in Wrentham."
In looking back to 1955, WYBSA inaugural year, the biggest difference is softball is now played. Also, that year, one of the baseball players was William Rice. He was a member of the Wrentham Red Sox and would later go on to be president of WYBSA as well as Wrentham's Recreation Director. The town named Rice Complex after him. But what is the same about WYBSA is the program continues to be run by dedicated folks from town. "There was just a single field back at the start," Campbell says. "At the end of each year, a bunch of guys would get together and cut down some trees to clear the next field when they needed the space."
While the 60th anniversary will be recognized at the opening day ceremony, Campbell says the focus of the day will be fundraising for Gemelli. The parade will be enhanced with a special "Walk for Tim." Joe Collins, a 7th grader at King Philip Middle School, organized the walk. People are invited to make a small donation to the Gemelli Fund to walk behind the parade. Gemelli's friends from Fidelity Investments have helped WYBSA plan some of the activities and organize the fundraising.
Campbell says the board of WYBSA felt it was a no brainer to help Gemilli once he was diagnosed with ALS. "Tim and his family represent everything that WYBSA stands for," he says. "Tim is the perfect youth coach - knowledgeable, caring, humble, and supportive of the kids."
Campbell added, "Tim is one of those coaches that left impressions on the kids he coached. Seeing Tim and his son Adam at the fields nearly every day with smiles on their faces, just happy to be playing baseball would have made a great WYBSA commercial, straight out of central casting."
Today, WYBSA averages around 500 players each year. Down from 800 players 7 years ago, the participation numbers have held steady over the last three years, despite competition for children's time with lacrosse and spring soccer. Campbell says they're active in keeping the program fun for the children and user-friendly for the parents. Players are placed by grades, coaches take online course through Cal Ripken Baseball, and practices are planned to be fast paced, organized and fun.
Adam Miller, an internationally known autoharpists, folksinger, and storyteller will perform at Fiske Public Library, 110 Randal Rd., on May 6, at 7 p.m. Miller, known for interactive singing along shows that feature his baritone voice sung over his "lively finger-picking acoustic guitar and stunningly beautiful autoharp melodies." The evening will include American folktales and folksongs. To signup visit the Circulation Desk at Fiske Public Library. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Fiske.
On Saturday, April 25, at 1 p.m. the public is invited to participate in the certification of local vernal pools.
Vernal pools are specialized habitats required by certain species such as marbled salamanders and wood frogs, which need to hatch in an aquatic environment that is free of predatory fish. Vernal pools are only filled with water during part of the year, which keeps fish from living there. Because this habitat is vital to a number of species, vernal pools receive special protection under wetlands regulations.
The group will meet will at the Taunton St. parking area on the West side of Route 495 overpass where they will meet up with Dave Paulson, Endangered Species Review Biologist, of Mass. Fish & Wildlife. Pasulson will bring all the gear necessary for sampling amphibians, egg masses, fresh water crustaceans, and any other indicator of vernal pool habitat.
There will be a short hike to the vernal pool area. Appropriate footwear and dress is recommended. In case of heavy rain, this event will take place on the following Saturday, May 2nd.
There is no charge thanks to a grant from the Sweatt Fund and is open to the public and is suitable for all ages.
Wrentham Cultural Council invites local artists to submit their work for consideration in this year's Arts on the Common. Planned for May 30, on Wrentham Town Common, the annual cultural event features juried, handcrafted fine arts and crafts, performance art and interactive activities.
“Arts on the Common” is an opportunity for artists to showcase their talent among numerous Council-selected artists from the New England area. The registration fee for accepted artists is $75 for a 10’ x 10’ exhibit space. Entries may be made in the following categories: Fine Arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, mixed media, etc.); Fine Crafts (wood, metal, jewelry, glass, etc.); Fiber Arts (weaving, quilt making, embroidery, clothing). Demonstrations of the artist’s process are welcome.
Wrentham Lions Duathlon is set for Sunday, April 19 at the Cracker Barrel Fairgrounds on the Wrentham Development Center campus, 498 Emerald St. Race starts at 8:30 a.m. Advance registration is preferred for the Duathlon and may be completed via www.firm-racing.com or on-site race day starting at 6:45 a.m. Sanctioned by USA Triathlon, the Duathlon course will be exactly the same as in past years. Competitors will start by running 3 miles around the perimeter of the WDC property; then bike 11 miles on streets in Wrentham, Franklin and Norfolk; and finish by running another 2 miles bisecting the middle of the WDC property. Entry fees are $50 Individual, $60 relay team, $10 Late fee for race day registration, $12 Single day USA Triathlon license.