Kutztown Youth Athletic Association holds opening day ceremonies

The Dodgers parade onto the field during the KYAA opening day ceremonies.
Photo by Dennis Krumanocker The parade teams takes place during opening day ceremonies May 3 for the Kutztown Youth Athletic Association.

The Kutztown Youth Athletic Associationís (KYAA) opening day ceremonies held on May 3, marked the official start of the youth baseball and softball seasons.

Volunteers were prepping the fields at the Kutztown Park in the warm morning sun, and by 3 p.m., colorful baseball and softball playersí uniforms were weaving throughout the park as the teams and their coaches waited to be recognized on the field.

With a backdrop of clouding skies and some gusting wind, Jeff Schmoyer, KYAA treasurer and senior girls Red team coach, introduced the four pitching machine teams, five junior boys teams, three senior boys teams, three Babe Ruth division teams, five junior girls teams, and four senior girls teams.

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As each of the teams paraded on the field as their names were called, family and friends clapped and cheered getting to see if kids were with their old teammates or moved up into a new division.

The prayer was presided over by Seth Nagle, the Youth Minister at Trinity Lutheran Church. Boy Scouts from Troop 101 carried the flag as Krystal Nolte, a sophomore at Kutztown Area High School (KAHS) who is also in the Show Choir, sang the National Anthem.

The first baseball pitch was thrown out by Tim Mertz, who retired from coaching KAHS baseball after 28 years. He was the junior varsity coach for four years, a varsity assistant for six years, and varsity coach for 18 years. Mertz was also a coach with KYAA for several years. His pitch was caught by Tyler Aston of the Junior Boys Marlins team.

The first softball pitch was thrown out by KYAA veteran Kathy Schlenker, who retired as KYAA president last year. Dedicated to softball, Schlenker coached for 40 years with KYAA, as well as 19 years coaching at the Kutztown Middle School where she continues to coach today.

The KYAA presented Schlenker with an award thanking her for her time, work and talent in KYAA acting as coach, secretary, and president of the organization. Her first pitch was caught by Brittany Noecker from the Junior Girls Green team.

KYAA could not run without its own team- its team of coaches and officers who volunteer their time. With these dedicated individuals the organization keeps running, the grass gets mowed, the fields get raked, the dug outs get painted and the list goes on.

The coaches take time to teach the children new baseball and softball skills, of course, but more than that, the children are physically active, away from their electronic devices, learning fair play, teamwork, and sportsmanship, all the while having fun with their friends.

Below is a list of the KYAA head coach.

Junior Boys Division

Cardinals: Mike Miller

Mariners: Duran Schuler

Marlins: Chris Holt

Mets: Mark Weida

Pirates: Chris Heckman

Senior Boys Division

Dodgers: Matt Stehm

Phillies: Dave Brooks

Tigers: Darcy Calkins

Babe Ruth Division

Angels: Jeff Maust

Devil Rays: Mike Stoltzfus

Diamond Backs: Dave Meitzler

Junior Girls Division

Blue: Trisha Berger

Green: Glenn OíNeill

Gold: Jay Green

Royal: Amanda Minnich

White: Chris Vanek

Senior Girls Division

Blue: Jason Wentzel

Gold: Dave Rothermel

Red: Jeff Schmoyer

Royal: Chris Manwiller

Pitching Machine

Owlz: Jason Gruber

Raptors: Sarah Brown

Ratlers: Duran Schuler

Thunder: Mike Berstrom

Below is a list of the KYAA officers

President: Dave Rothermel

Vice President: Jay Green

Treasurer: Jeff Schmoyer

Sectretary: Darcy Calkins

Director: Brian Aston

Director: Jason Wentzel

Director: John Perella

Director: Chris Holt

Director: Duran Schuler