SCRIPPS RANCH
NEWS
Scripps Ranch Little League President Marcus Armstrong with some excited players. (courtesy of Marcus Armstrong)
SR Little League preps for season
By John Gregory

Opening Day for Scripps Ranch Little League is scheduled for Feb. 25 at Jerabek Neighborhood Park. Events will be held throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This includes the ceremonial Parade of Teams and Opening Pitch, a Home Run Derby and team photos. There will be inflatables for the kids, the snack bar will be open, and Rita's Italian Ice will be on hand to serve delicious frozen treats. There will be a raffle drawing for prizes. In addition, the Padres Pad Squad featuring the Friar will be in attendance for the festivities.

Marcus Armstrong is busy preparing the local league for the upcoming season, serving his first year as its president. He has been a volunteer with Scripps Ranch Little League for about nine years and has served on the board on and off, he said.

"It's a way for me to give back to the kids in Scripps Ranch and volunteer some time," he said.

But that explanation understates the amount of volunteer time and responsibility involved. Armstrong estimated that last year the local league consisted of more than 600 players and approximately 50 teams throughout Scripps Ranch; and he admits serving as president is nearly a full-time job.

He must attend a monthly board meeting, a district meeting once a month, and any other ad hoc meetings the board might have developed. He must answer emails and correspond with parents about such subjects as registration, practices and their experiences at games. Armstrong is quick to give credit to the many Scripps Ranch Little League board members who, he says, contribute "just as much as I do, if not more."

Scripps Ranch Little League divisions include a T-Ball (ages 4-6), Rookies (ages 6-7), MAPS (machine pitch; ages 7-8), Lower Minors (ages 8-10), Upper Minors (ages 9-11), Majors (ages 10-12), Intermediate (ages 12-13), Juniors (ages 13-14), Seniors (ages 15-16) and Challenger (for players with physical or mental limitations; ages 5-18).

"My responsibilities are to ensure that our league is following all the Little League International rules," Armstrong explained. "I'm the main point of contact between our district reps, Little League International and our board, and also our parents. ... But also, I'm ensuring that our players have the best experience possible."

While the main period for signups has ended for the spring season, Armstrong said registration never really closes. The league will try to find a team in the appropriate age division for any late registrants. Players are eligible for Scripps Ranch Little League if they live within specified boundaries. Youngsters who do not live in Scripps Ranch but attend a Scripps Ranch school may sign a waiver to become eligible for participation in the local league.

Player assessments have been held and this is the time Scripps Ranch Little League officials begin placing players on teams.

Players in Scripps Ranch Little League will be attired in style as they participate in the games, thanks to San Diego's Major League Baseball team. "The Padres actually provide us with jerseys for all of our players," Armstrong explained. "They're really very nice button-down jerseys. So, each player from T-Ball through Upper Minors and our Challenger Division will get a brand-new Padres jersey."

The league provides baseball pants, socks and belts, he said. "So, every team from T-Ball through Upper Minors is basically a Padres team, however each one wears a different variation of a Padres jersey." Armstrong added.

The players can start wearing cleats as early as age five. The young players are allowed to wear rubber molded cleats only. Some of the upper divisions, starting with Intermediate and above, can wear metal cleats, Armstrong said.

Armstrong, who has two sons who have played Little League ball, said he has enjoyed baseball his entire life.

"Baseball, for me, is just a way to learn about teamwork. A way to learn how to rely on other people in order to get a common goal accomplished," he explained. "But not only that; it's a sport. You're supposed to have fun and enjoy yourself. I've made lifelong friends that I'm friends with today that I actually played Little League with.

"For me, Little League has always been that team aspect, but also a way to have fun with my friends and ... play a sport that I love and, hopefully, these kids will love as well," he said.

Armstrong said the league can always use parent volunteers and is also looking for umpires. Visit https://manageyourleague.com/SRLL.