There are many ways to celebrate patriotism on Independence Day, and on Friday at the Davis Little League Complex, the exhibition participants, supportive family members and other baseball fans observed the holiday by watching America’s favorite pastime.
In the main event of the day, the Majors exhibition, Davis National took control early and never looked back, defeating Davis American, 10-4.
“Fourth of July baseball is about parents coming out, kids coming out and having fun,” DLL board member Jack Dapkewicz told The Enterprise. “There’s the pancake breakfast, you know, it’s just so fun to meet parents and talk about baseball. If you look at these kids, every single one of them wants to be here and that’s what baseball is supposed to be about.”
This year, DLL expanded the number of all-star matchups: There were two T-ball games, two Farm matchups, two AA contests and one AAA outing in addition to the Majors game. The expansion, according to organization president Paul Hasson, reflects an increase in Little League participation.
“We’ve had a steady growth in kids from T-ball, 24 teams this year — a new record. In Farm, we had a new record of 16 teams, and in AA, had a record of 14 teams,” Hasson said. “We’ve seen a steady increase (in teams) and with that increase comes increased wanting to participate at a slightly higher level. So to accommodate that, we added those second (AA and T-ball) games.”
The sights and sounds at the DLL Complex on Friday were typical: Young children gobbled up their sno-cones, parents sought out the shade and chatted, and every few minutes they all joined together to cheer on the players. And, of course, a trip to the DLL Complex wouldn’t be complete without the siblings of the players horsing around in the batting cages.
The Fourth of July event truly was an entire community affair as vendors like Jamba Juice, CREAM and Woodstock’s all came out to support the DLL cause. Even the Davis Junior Blue Devils football and cheer program had a booth set up to try to recruit for the upcoming season.
“It’s a great gathering place,” Hasson said. “I mean, Davis Little League is a special place. You’ve got four games going on at the same time, four fields, four sets of parents at different levels and the vendors that come out and support us. That’s a big money-maker for Davis Little League as well, so we can upkeep the fields and keep this place a great facility.”
According to Dapkewicz, the public support started long before Friday as many volunteers came out to a Davis Little League Community Day earlier this year:
“We had the Community Day about two months ago, and we had about 150 volunteers come out here and we redid backstops, we built (a small booth behind the north field) and came out to paint and scrub benches. And it all carried over to the Fourth of July,” Dapkewicz said.
“You got guys up there in the booth, waving at us,” Dapkewicz said as his son and a few of his buddies were goofing around and laughing.
But it was all business when the Majors game started.
The National League All-Stars came to play and they showed it from the outset of the contest.
NL pitcher Colin Carter got out of a jam with runners on first and third in the top of the first, then a couple of walks and some smart base-running helped the National stars take an early 2-0 lead they would keep for the rest of the game.
The advantage was extended in the second inning after Carter pitched another scoreless frame. Davis National loaded the bases for Giffey Syzmoniak, who slapped a single into center field, bringing home Zack Brooks.
On the play, Nick Haverlock rounded third and tried to score, but a perfectly executed throw to home from Antonio Garibay nabbed Haverlock at the plate.
However, the National stars went on to score three more runs in the frame to move ahead 6-0.
Davis American got on the board in the top of the third when Tyler Herrera and Ben Park scored runs after working walks.
But in the fourth, DNLL’s Nick Paciulla put the nail in the coffin.
After Syzmoniak singled and Connor Hedin lined out to second, Paciulla stepped up to the plate and crushed a towering home run to left-center field, giving the Nationals a commanding 8-2 lead.
The Americans were able to tack on two runs in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough to muster a comeback.
— Reach Thomas Oide at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas