Woodlake’s youth baseball program had all the excitement of opening day on Saturday, April 5, but this city’s version was arguably the best one anywhere this season. Not only did more than 100 kids and their coaches get special introductions in front of fans and a host of civic dignitaries, but the City of Woodlake used the season-opening event to dedicate two new state-of-the-art playing fields, known as the Willow Court Baseball/Softball Complex.
“We could not have done these beautiful playing fields without a grant of $55,000 from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund,” said Ramon Lara, Woodlake city administrator. “That money helped us build the backstops and fencing. The community stepped up to the plate and did the rest.”
The cash and in-kind donations more than matched the grant from Major League Baseball’s Tomorrow Fund. The national funding organization furnishes seed money to promote youth baseball and softball worldwide.
But it was the Woodlake community that made the all-star team in this project. Local businesses installed the irrigation and the electrical; parents and some community volunteers performed all the labor; corporate sponsors donated cash.
It was Woodlake pride personified, said one of the proud parents at the dedication. A local pilot from the Woodlake Airport provided a patriotic flyover during the singing of the National Anthem.
Woodlake Youth Baseball currently has more than a 100 boys and girls (ages 4 to 12) playing a regular schedule this season. Lara said this is only the beginning and hopes to have hundreds more kids playing in the near future.
“If you build that field of dreams they will come,” Mayor Rudy Mendoza said in his remarks to an appreciative opening day crowd.