It’s that exciting time of year when Arcadia’s youngsters get ready to participate in baseball and softball with Arcadia Little League. Registration opened this December, with evaluations starting early next year and games beginning in March.

Arcadia Little League has been in operation since 1957. This year will be the 64th season. Last year, games were cut short due to the pandemic, but ALL President Cheri Pierce hopes this year will be just as fun and exciting as years past.

Pierce has been a volunteer in the league since 2011 when she assisted on her daughter’s tee-ball team. In 2013, she was recruited to join the board and has served as president for the last two years.

During her tenure on the board, ALL has grown its softball divisions. Last year, over 900 players between the ages of 4-13 registered for the tee-ball, softball and baseball divisions.

“In the current health crisis, I am not sure what to expect or what our exact numbers will be. All families are making decisions that best fit their needs. COVID-19 has left us all wondering what to do next, but ALL is planning to play ball in the spring, as long as it is safe to do so,” Pierce said.

Pierce explained that the current board has been preparing for the 2021 season since August and is planning to start practices and games on time. In 2019, the league expanded boundaries to include Biltmore Preparatory

Academy and Phoenix Country Day School.

“I am hoping that the families at these schools will join us and help our program grow stronger. ALL is a non-profit organization and is only as strong as the families that support it. Without our community, we would be nothing, and the board members that I serve with work very hard to provide a youth sport that stays local,” Pierce said.

The league will follow guidelines set forth by state and local governments and health officials regarding public gatherings, organized youth sports and sporting events. Arcadia Little League plays most of its games on SUSD fields and uses their matrix when determining how to protect the community.

ALL will continue to play at Camelback Christian Church, Echo Canyon Elementary and Ingleside Middle School. They are looking to play more fields so that kids don’t get waitlisted and everyone has a chance to play.

“My hope is to find more fields in our newly-expanded boundaries, so we never have to turn any children away,” Pierce said. “We teach more than just the fundamentals of baseball and softball. We teach sportsmanship, life lessons, encourage new friendships and hope to build a stronger community. We do not focus on the big games but the small victories.”

Once ALL gets a go-ahead from Scottsdale Unified, they will begin the season with player evaluations for upper divisions on January 30, February 6 for baseball and February 13 for softball.

Practices will begin mid-February. Regular-season games will officially start March 15 and conclude on May 15.