Plenty of positives in WCYBSA for 2019 season

Warren Fence Company’s Reed Wilson throws the ball in from centerfield during a game against Arby’s in Sheffield, Thursday, May 16, 2019. The teams were playing in their season opener for the 2019 Warren County Youth Baseball/Softball Association season.

While Major League Baseball is getting into the heart of its season, and college and high school players are wrapping up theirs, another group of ballplayers is just getting started.

The Warren County Youth Baseball/Softball Association got its 2019 season started last week. The organization, which has undergone numerous name changes/affiliations during its tenure, has been bringing baseball to Warren County youngsters for more than 75 years.

“As we start the season we have 558 players assigned to 52 teams from Teeball to 50/70 division,” WCYBSA President Rich Pascuzzi said. “That is an increase over last year by 5 teams and 58 players.”

While the players took the field for the first time last week, the WCYBSA has been preparing for opening day for weeks.

“We have revitalized fields owned or leased by WCYBSA, and better maintained fields not owned by WCYBSA (we have permission from municipalities to groom, mow and do some other improvements to some of the fields around the county),” Pascuzzi said. “We added dirt base paths to some grass fields to make the playing experience better for the younger players.”

Arby’s’ Case Aul swings at a pitch during a boys minors league game against Warren Fence Company in Sheffield, Thursday, May 16, 2019. Aul smacked a single on the play as the teams opened their 2019 Warren County Youth Baseball/Softball Association season.

The WCYBSA has also made some changes for the 2019 season. The hats and uniforms players wear have a new look, they invested in new equipment and carpeted four batting cages. Additionally, sponsors now have the opportunity to hang banners on the outfield fences, giving the fields the look of a minor league ballpark.

The WCYBSA aslo reached out to another youth organization to improve the game experience for fans as well.

“We are partnering with the Boy Scouts to run concessions at two locations to provide food for the players and families watching the baseball games,” Pascuzzi said.

One schedule change for this season is actually a return to days of old.

“We are planning an exciting year end tournament to be played in June for the bragging rights for champion of the respective divisions,” Pascuzzi said.

Pascuzzi can speak to the tradition of youth baseball/softball in Warren County. His father was a board president during the 1980s and Rich has been a board member for four years (president for two).

“My father was President in the 80s for seven years. He put lights on Betts Jackson. Now, 40 years later I’m trying to get lights back up and running to have night games,” he said.

One of Pascuzzi’s goals is to have youth night games again this season, once the school year is over. But that’s not all the organization is focused on going forward.

“We are in the process of securing grants to build at least two new fields and refurbish some of the older fields,” Pascuzzi said. “We have many plans for improvement to service the needs of the youth of Warren County.”

The league started over 75 years ago as a Hot Stove league, has been rebranded as Warren Little League and again as WCYBSA. Another name change may be on the horizon.

“We are looking into joining up with Little League international once again for the 2020 season,” Pascuzzi said.

Regardless of name, there will always be those doing what they can to make sure kids in Warren County can look forward to another spring on the diamond.

“Warren county has been blessed with youth ball players having a chance to play baseball for over 75 years,” Pascuzzi said. “As in the past years WCYBSA has been working hard in the off season to insure that this year and future years will be better for all ages of players girls and boys.”