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Lebanon 9-12 baseball leagues to play under one banner in '13
Jan 19, 2013 12:00 am
Kiwanis Little League, Rotary Dixie Youth merge leagues
After almost two decades as competing entities, the Kiwanis Little League and Rotary Dixie Youth League are merging into one organization.
The leagues finalized their merger Tuesday night.
“We were depleting the talent pool in our 9 to 12 year old baseball leagues,” said M. F. Donnell, a Rotary club member and Dixie Youth league official. "Running two separate operations was the way to go years ago, but with today’s youth baseball choices, it makes complete sense to combine our efforts to offer the kids in Lebanon one super league for baseball."
The new “super league” will operate two divisions, a 9-10 year old Little League format and an 11-12 year old Dixie Youth format.
An advisory board was formed Tuesday night comprised of Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club members as well as a neutral member from the baseball community. Those elected to serve include M. F. Donnell, Rick Smith, Mac Griffin, Richard Whitener, John McDearman and Eddie Pawlawski. Fred Dawson, long-time time youth baseball coach and advocate, was selected as the “at large” member of the seven member panel. Dawson will serve as chairman of the board.
Signups for both age groups are well underway and more information can be found on the organizations websites: www.lebanonrotarybaseball.com and kiwanislittleleague.pointstreaksites.com. In-person signups for ages 9-12 are set for J9-11 a.m. Jan. 26 at Coles Ferry Elementary's cafeteria.
“This year we are running two websites because of timing issues. We want this year to run as smooth as possible so having two sites up for registration was the least confusing option for our players and parents,” said Sean Patrick, 9-10 year old Little League division president.
“We are excited and thrilled to come together with the Kiwanis Club to offer the best options for our young people. We are looking forward to tryouts in February and will continue to offer local youth baseball with no cost to play,” added John Pope, 11-12 year old Dixie Youth division president.
The new league will carry the name Lebanon Youth Baseball League – sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Lebanon and The Lebanon Rotary Club.
According to information provided by longtime Kiwanis Club and league member Dr. T.J. Gallaher [whose name adorns the league's Baird Park fields today], the Kiwanis Little League began in 1955. The Rotary League can trace its roots to 1962 when participation in the Kiwanis League became too large for it to handle.
The Optimist Club formed its own Little League and, to divide the talent, the late George Harding [whose name joins Gallaher's on the Kiwanis League fields] suggested the two leagues split the talent by using birthdays. One league took odd-month birthdays and the other league even months.
The Optimist Club petered out over time, but longtime league president Bob Pack kept the league going and moved it to Dixie Youth in the early '90s before turning it over to the Rotary Club following the 2001 season.
Sports Editor Andy Reed contributed to this story